Economic Crunch: Nigeria to Dispose More Presidential Aircraft

President Muhammadu Buhari will surrender more airplanes in the presidential air fleet to the Nigerian Air Force, his spokesperson said Tuesday after the presidency put up two aircraft for sale.

Reducing the number of airplanes in the outsized presidential air fleet was one of Mr. Buhari’s promises before taking office in 2015. The plan was intended to cut cost and save scarce resources.

But the president retained the same size he inherited from former President Goodluck Jonathan – 10 jets, including the two advertised for sale – more than a year into his presidency, drawing criticisms.

On Tuesday, the Office of the National Security Adviser advertised the sale of a Falcon 7X executive jet and Hawker 4000.

Mr. Buhari’s senior special assistant on media and publicity, Garba Shehu, said the decision to sell the two aircraft was in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive for the Presidential air fleet to be reduced drastically.

“This exercise is by no means complete,” he said in a statement.

Apart from the two aircraft being advertised for sale, Mr. Shehu said “the Commander of the Presidential Air Fleet will any time from now … hand over some other aircraft to the Airforce for their operations”.

He said President Buhari’s directive to a government committee on reducing the presidential air fleet was “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”.

Mr. Shehu had hinted in September that the number of aircraft in the fleet would be reduced.

The advertorial on Tuesday detailed the specifications of the planes as well as their performance levels, indicating that they were in fairly good condition.

Interested buyers were advised to inspect the Falcon at the presidential wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

On the other hand, the Hawker 4000 could only be inspected at Cessna Zurich Citation Service Centre, Zurich, Switzerland. The bids are to be quoted in dollars, the notice said.

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