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‘Presidential Molue’: 5 Presidents Spend N214bn Flying Around The World

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As the moves to purchase two additional aircraft for the Presidential Air Fleet (PAF) continue to generate divergent reactions, findings have shown that the Federal Government may have spent a staggering N214 billion on the fleet from 1999 to date.

This sum represents cumulative budgetary allocations and expenditures on the fleet since the inception of the Fourth Republic, according to documents reviewed by Sunday

The expenditures were incurred under the administrations of 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.

The estimated figure, according to critics, raises questions about the priorities of the government, given the country’s pressing needs in areas such as education, healthcare, and infrastructure.

The N214 billion spent on PAF is a significant chunk of the Federal Government’s budget, and many Nigerians are calling for a review of the fleet’s operations and maintenance costs.

With the country facing economic challenges and struggling to fund key sectors, the government’s prioritization of the fleet has raised eyebrows.

The House of Representatives Committee on National Security and Intelligence, a fortnight ago, had approved the purchase of two new aircraft, after it said it discovered that the President’s 19-year-old Boeing 737 and some of the other aircraft in the fleet were dysfunctional.

The cost of each plane is estimated to be over $623.4 million (approximately N918.7 billion).

The PAF, under the control of the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA), according to reports, consists of 10 aircraft, including Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) 737, Gulfstream G550, Gulfstream G500, two Falcon 7X HS 4000, two Agusta 139 and two Agusta 101.

The fleet flies the President, the Vice President, and principal officers of the National Assembly, including the Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives, among other top government officials.

While the fleet is seen as a symbol of national pride and prestige, critics argue that the costs of maintaining it are excessive and could be better spent on more pressing national needs.

The fleet has undergone several upgrades and renovations over the years, with each administration adding new aircraft to the fleet.

In terms of budget allocations, there has been a fluctuation over the years.

For example, the Federal Government under Tinubu earmarked N20.5 billion in the 2024 budget for the PAF while N12.7 billion and N13 billion were budgeted for PAF in the 2023 supplementary budget and the 2023 budget respectively.

Out of the budgeted sum, findings also reveal that the administration has disbursed a total sum of N14.77bn for the repair and maintenance of the presidential aircraft in 11 months.

The payments, it was revealed, were made in 11 tranches between 16th July 2023 and 25th May 2024, and processed through the State House headquarters transit account labelled ‘Presidential Air Fleet Transit Funds’.

Furthermore, the Muhammadu Buhari administration spent N69.06 billion on fleet operation and maintenance for over eight years.

For instance, during Buhari’s first four years in office, a total of N20.42 billion was allocated for the presidential fleet.

Surprisingly, this allocation doubled in his second term, reaching N41 billion.

In 2016, N3.65 billion was allocated for PAF, with subsequent increases in 2017, 2018, and 2019, reaching N4.37 billion, N7.26 billion, and N7.30 billion, respectively.

However, a slight drop of N503.75 million occurred in 2020 when N6.79 billion was budgeted due to the global lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which significantly impacted flight operations.

Two years

In the two years following the pandemic, the allocation surged, rising to N12.55 billion and N12.48 billion for the 2021 and 2022 fiscal budgets, respectively.

Similarly, Goodluck Jonathan’s administration spent N42.18 billion on PAF in four years from 2011 to 2015.

In 2011 and 2012, the fleet was allocated 17.98 billion and 3.54 billion while it was 7.5 billion, 7.97 billion and 5.19 billion in 2013, 2014 and 2015 respectively.

A look at the budgetary allocations for the presidential fleet from 2011 to 2024 amounted to N144.44bn.

Records for allocations to PAF under the Obasanjo and Yar’Adua (1999 to 2000) were not immediately available but sources said they averaged N7 billion per year, meaning that total allocations for the 10 years could be in the region of N70 billion.

What this means is that estimated allocations to PAF since 1999 are in the region of N214 billion.

A breakdown of budgetary allocations from 2011 to 2024 is as follows:

2011 N17.98bn

N3.54bn

2013 N7.5bn

2014 N7.97bn

2015 N5.19bn

2016 N3.6bn

2017 N4.37bn

2018 N7.26bn

2019 N7.297bn

2020 N8.51bn

2021 N12.55bn

2022 N12.48bn

2023 N25.7bn

2024 N20.5bn As the country moves forward, it remains to be seen whether the government will rethink its spending priorities and channel more resources towards pressing national needs.


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