The Presidential Jets have always been a hot topic for discussion in the past and present administration in Nigeria. Most Nigerians saw it as a form of waste and extravagant lifestyle of the number one citizen of the country. So it comes as a form of great news to many as two Presidential aircraft namely Falcon 7X executive jet and Hawker 4000, were advertised for sale in national newspapers.
This development and the authenticity of the advert has been confirmed by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu in a statement made available to journalists.
Shehu said the decision to sell the jets was in line with the directive of the President that aircraft in the Presidential Air Fleet should be reduced to cut down on waste, Punch reported
He explained that the reduction would not end with the sale of the two jets.
The presidential spokesman said some aircraft in the fleet would also soon be handed over to the Nigeria Air Force for its operations.
Shehu said, “When he campaigned to be President, the then APC candidate Muhammadu Buhari, if you recall, promised to look at the Presidential Air Fleet with a view to cutting down on waste.
“His directive to a government committee on this assignment is that he likes to see a compact and reliable aircraft for the safe airlift of the President, the Vice-President and other government officials that go on special missions.
“This exercise is by no means complete. I am sure the Commander of the Presidential Air Fleet will any time from now call you to a ceremony at which he will hand over some other aircraft to the Air Force for their operations.”
According to the Presidency, PAF currently has 10 aircraft. These are: Boeing Business Jet (Boeing 737-800 or AirForce One), one Gulfstream 550, one Gulfstream V (Gulfstream 500), two Falcons 7X, one Hawker Sidley 4000, two AgustaWestland AW 139 helicopters and two AgustaWestland AW 101 helicopters.
Each of the two Falcon 7X jets were purchased in 2010 by the Federal Government for $51.1m, while the Gulfstream 550 costs $53.3m, a former Minister of Information, the late Prof. Dora Akunyili, had said.
The price of other aircraft in the fleet could not be ascertained. But according to Wikipedia, price.wescrawler.com and airline executives, the factory price of other aircraft in the fleet are: Boeing Business Jet, $59m; HS 4000, $22.9m; AgustaWestland 139, $12m; and AgusatWestland 101, $21m.
This brings a combined estimated value of Nigeria’s PAF to $347.4m (N106.13bn).
We say: Its about time waste in the presidential villa, top levels of government and middle levels of government is cut down. The move to sell the presidential jets is quite commendable.