Nigeria Spend N214 Billion on Presidential Air Fleet in 25 Years As Pundits Question Priorities


The ongoing debate over the Federal Government’s plan to purchase two additional aircraft for the Presidential Air Fleet (PAF) has brought to light the substantial financial commitment Nigeria has made to maintaining this fleet since 1999. Documents reviewed by Sunday Vanguard reveal that a staggering N214 billion has been spent on the PAF from the inception of the Fourth Republic to the present day.

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Historical Expenditures and Budgetary Allocations
The expenditures span five administrations: President Olusegun Obasanjo (1999–2007), President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua (2007–2009), President Goodluck Jonathan (2009–2015), President Muhammadu Buhari (2015–2023), and current President Bola Tinubu. Critics argue that these expenditures raise critical questions about governmental priorities, especially in the face of pressing needs in education, healthcare, and infrastructure.

The N214 billion figure encompasses cumulative budgetary allocations and expenditures for the PAF, with each administration adding new aircraft and incurring maintenance costs. For instance, the Tinubu administration earmarked N20.5 billion in the 2024 budget for the PAF, while N12.7 billion and N13 billion were allocated in the 2023 supplementary budget and 2023 budget, respectively. Over the past 11 months, the administration has disbursed N14.77 billion for the repair and maintenance of the presidential aircraft.

Economic Challenges and Public Scrutiny
With the country facing significant economic challenges, including plummeting gas exports, dwindling foreign reserves, rising food prices, and fuel scarcity, the substantial spending on the PAF has sparked public outcry. The House of Representatives Committee on National Security and Intelligence recently approved the purchase of two new aircraft, citing the dysfunctionality of the President’s 19-year-old Boeing 737 and other fleet aircraft. The estimated cost for these planes is over $623.4 million (approximately N918.7 billion).

Comparative Analysis of Past Administrations
Analyzing past administrations, the Muhammadu Buhari administration spent N69.06 billion on fleet operations and maintenance over eight years, with budget allocations nearly doubling in his second term. Goodluck Jonathan’s administration allocated N42.18 billion to the PAF between 2011 and 2015. Records for the Obasanjo and Yar’Adua administrations indicate an average yearly allocation of N7 billion, suggesting a total of around N70 billion over 10 years.

The breakdown of budgetary allocations from 2011 to 2024 underscores the fluctuating but consistently high costs associated with the PAF:

2011: N17.98 billion
2012: N3.54 billion
2013: N7.5 billion
2014: N7.97 billion
2015: N5.19 billion
2016: N3.6 billion
2017: N4.37 billion
2018: N7.26 billion
2019: N7.297 billion
2020: N8.51 billion
2021: N12.55 billion
2022: N12.48 billion
2023: N25.7 billion
2024: N20.5 billion
Future Considerations
As Nigeria grapples with multiple crises, including political, economic, social, and environmental challenges, the significant investment in the PAF continues to be a point of contention. Critics argue that these funds could be better allocated to address more pressing national needs. Whether the government will reconsider its spending priorities in favor of broader national interests remains an open question.

Godwin Okafor, The Naija247news
Godwin Okafor, The Naija247news
Godwin Okafor is a veteran Financial Journalist, Internet Social Entrepreneur, and the visionary Founder of Naija247news Media Limited. With an extensive career spanning over 16 years in financial journalism, Godwin possesses a wealth of experience that seamlessly bridges both traditional and digital media landscapes. His journey in journalism commenced at Business Day, Nigeria, where he laid the foundation for his prolific career. In 2010, Godwin took a bold step by founding Naija247news Media, a platform that has since become a prominent player in delivering timely and accurate news. Educationally, Godwin Okafor holds a Bachelor's degree in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from the prestigious Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos. His commitment to continuous learning led him to the Lagos Business School, where he further honed his skills. Additionally, he is recognized as a Fellow of the University of Pennsylvania, having successfully completed the Wharton Seminar for Business Journalists. Throughout his illustrious career, Godwin has earned acclaim by winning numerous journalism awards, a testament to his dedication to excellence in reporting. Beyond his role as a Financial Journalist, Godwin Okafor wears the hat of the Chairman at Emmerich Resources Limited, the publishing entity behind Naija247news. His visionary leadership has played a pivotal role in shaping the media landscape and establishing Naija247news as a trusted source of information. Godwin Okafor's multifaceted expertise, commitment to journalistic integrity, and leadership in the realm of business journalism underscore his influential presence in both the media and entrepreneurial spheres.

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