The federal government has put up two presidential aircraft for sale, finally setting in motion the process to fulfil one of President Muhammadu Buhari’s campaign promises.
The FG advertised in some newspapers a call for interested buyers to signify interest for the two aircraft – a Falcon 7X (5N-FGU) and Hawker 4000 (5N-FGX).
The five-year old Falcon 7X has a capacity to seat 16 people and three crew members. It has a fully automated media centre, four large screen monitors and six small adjustable seat mounted monitors. Its location was given as Abuja, Nigeria.
The four-year old Hawker 4000 has a nine passenger and six crew seating capacity. Its location was given as Cessna Zurich Citation Service Centre in Switzerland. It also has a fully automated media centre and two large monitors.
Buhari’s delay in putting up the presidential jets for sale has been a source of frustration for his supporters as the opposition has continuously pointed to that as a sign of his hypocrisy.
In early September, Garba Shehu, the senior special assistant to the president on media and publicity, disclosed that a committee had been set up which was “working to reduce the number of aircraft in the presidential fleet.” According to him, “some aircraft will be boarded, some others returned to the Air Force for operation…”
In May, The ScoopNG asked Vice President Yemi Osinbajo why the president still maintained a large presidential fleet despite decrying it during the campaigns. Osinbajo said that the executive has been considering options as regards the sale of planes in the presidential fleet but wants to make sound economic decisions.
“You can either sell them off at a false price. Remember there’s a depression. The president himself doesn’t need a large fleet but it’s about taking a wise decision, not just saying you want to sell and then selling cheap,” he said. “The optics of selling planes may look good but you must make sound economic decisions. If you sell a plane at a time you shouldn’t at a price you shouldn’t, it may not be wise. The president is not one to care too much about optics.”
Below is a snapshot of the newspaper advert calling for interested buyers: