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Group urges Tinubu to be transparent in selling 3 presidential fleet

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Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has called for openness and transparency in the process of selling off the national assets and demanded that it shouldn’t be a game-plan to pass on the national assets to a ‘privileged family’ for political patronage.

The call by the advocacy group is coming after NewsBand reported that President Bola Tinubu as part of his administration’s effort to cut down cost, has expressed willingness to auction three presidential Air Fleet.

HURIWA which applauded Mr Tinubu for the bold decision in a statement signed by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko said the process of selling off the three jets must be handled by a tested and trusted business entity and there has to be proper accountability regarding the proceeds from the sale of the three aircrafts just as it warned that ‘there shouldn’t be any government magic’ or the more we look the less we understand in the entire scheme.

“It is appropriate that the presidency has finally authorised the selling off of some of the ten jets/helicopters in the Presidential Air Fleet (PAF) as a way to reduce the high costs of maintenance. Our main concern is that just like most governors do when they are in offices, they sell off government assets to themselves, their family members and their cronies at give-away prices to shortchange their people, we hope the president will ensure that these three jets are simply not sold at ‘bend-down-select’ prices to their family members, sons-in-law or cronies and therefore short-changing the good people of Nigeria of their hard-earned and highly prized national assets.

“We are tasking the office of the National Security Adviser to the President to follow the principles of transparency, accountability and openness. We urge the government to ensure open, competitive bidding process devoid of insider abuses and this should be observed by accredited and credible civil rights organisations.”

Previous attempts to sell off two aircraft during President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration faced hurdles, with potential buyers initially offering $24 million for a Dassault Falcon 7x executive jet and a Beechcraft Hawker 4000 business jet. However, the reduced bid of $11 million was rejected by the government at the time.

As part of efforts to generate revenue and tackle the issue of maintenance costs, some aircraft were considered for charter services to interested governors, though the specifics of this arrangement remain unclear.

Among the aircraft in the PAF are Boeing Business Jets (BBJ) 737, Gulfstream G550, Gulfstream G500, two Falcon 7X, HS 4000, two Agusta 139, and two Agusta 101. Notably, the BBJ 737 serves as the Nigerian Air Force One, exclusively catering to the President’s travel needs.

While the fate of the BBJ 737 remains uncertain, the administration has earmarked Falcon and Embraer jets for potential sale.

HURIWA said the government would be judged according to how it follows the law and observe all the ethics in selling off these prized national assets including rendering proper account just as it totally endorse this wise decision to downsize the over-sized Presidential Air Fleet that represents more of cash-guzzling assets because of the unprecedented costs of yearly maintenance.

 

 

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