Femi Falana, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN); has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to stop members of his family from using aircraft in the presidential fleet.
Specifically, Falana, who made this appeal on Sunday, January 12; said the use of aircraft in the presidential fleet by members of the first family for private events is not backed by law.
Equally important, 1st News had reported that Hanan Buhari, the president’s daughter; had flown in a presidential jet to Bauchi on Thursday for a private function.
Consequently, many Nigerians condemned the action. However, the presidency defended it.
Garba Shehu, the presidential spokesman said it is normal practice for the president’s family to use the presidential aircraft.
“The normal practice in existence for a long time is that the presidential air fleet is available; to the president and the first family and four others.
“These four are the vice-president, the senate president the speaker; and any other person authorised by the president,” Shehu explained.
However, Falana said the “official policy” of the federal government; “does not authorise the children of the President to use the presidential jets to attend to private social functions”.
“In fact, there is no precedent whatsoever for such privatisation of the presidency of Nigeria,” Falana added.
Further, he said Buhari had promised to reduce the cost of maintaining aircraft in the presidential fleet; which according to him, stands at N8.5 billion in the 2020 budget.
“The so-called ‘normal practice’ of using the aircraft in the presidential fleet; by members of the first family to attend to private engagements is not backed by any extant law or official policy,” he said.
“In view of the foregoing, we call on President Buhari to stop the members of his family; from using any of the aircraft in the presidential fleet “with a view to cutting down on waste”.
“A country that is said to be the headquarters of the greatest number of poverty-stricken people in the world cannot afford to waste billions of Naira; on the use of presidential aircraft and hiring of commercial jets by state governors that are owing workers several months of unpaid salaries.”