Nigerians have been outraged over the decision by the presidency to authorize presidential jet for president Buhari’s daughter Hana for a private photography trip to Bauchi state.
Just recently Hana had ordered the Department of State Services to arrest and detain a delta state-based businessman Anthony Okolie for 10 weeks after he legally purchased an MTN Simcard from a registered dealer in Asaba the capital.
Mrs Hana Buhari was the previous owner of the mobile number purchased by Mr Anthony Okolie but had abandoned the line for a long period of time.
It is the normal policy of telecom companies to recycle a line that’s not been used for a stipulated period and resale it to another customer, and that another customer happened to be Mr Anthony Okolie, his crime was legally buying a recycled line from a registered vendor.
The president’s daughter who is a graduate of Photography from Ravensbourne University, London, after noticing that the number was in use elsewhere, reported the matter to the DSS and ordered the arrest and detention of Okolie.
The Department of State Services had to release Mr Anthony after 10 weeks in detention as the complainant, Mrs Hana Buhari had failed to appear before it to give a statement on the matter after several notices.
Now in another controversy trailing the president’s daughter, she travelled to Bauchi to shoot photos at a Durbar by Rilwanu Adamu, Emir of Bauchi, in one of the jets in the presidential fleet.
Nigerians, especially on social media, have been calling out bother Mrs Hana and the presidency for allowing her to use the presidential jet for a private trip.
Under standard practice, only the President, First Lady, Vice-President, Senate President, Speaker, Chief Justice of Nigeria, former Presidents and a Presidential delegation are allowed to use the presidential jet.
It should be recalled that during his presidential campaigns before wrestling power from the PDP in 2005, President Buhari had criticised what he called the excesses of the presidency and promised to reduce the number of aircraft in the presidential fleet to save cost.
But despite those lofty promises, only two helicopters out of 10 were given to the Nigerian Air Force while two presidential aircrafts previously put up for sale had yet to be discarded as of 2018.
About N8.5bn have been earmarked for the maintenance of the presidential aircraft in the 2020 budget.
Expressing displeasure at the use of one of the jets for a private trip by President Buhari’s daughter, a Twitter user, Young Otutu, said, “Lest we forget: The daughter of the president who promised not to allow unwarranted spending in governance, Hanan Buhari is busy flying Airforce 1 to go greet dignitaries and their wives with DSS securities, all on tax payers funds. Lest we forget.”
Another Twitter user identified as Dr Dbanj, said, “In what capacity is she being received at the airport? What kind of waste is this? If Npower could render so many generals jobless in these streets, yet this one flight could have kept them going for one month.
“Guess this was why we refused to sell any part of the fleet.”
Also enraged by the incident, @Kabir_kb1 said, “So, Hanan Buhari is now cruising with our Presidential jet.
“Though we were told in 2016 that there was a plan to sell them in order to reduce cost, but now his daughter, despite the fact that he’s regarded as the “Man of Integrity” is using one of them.”
However, defending Hanan’s usage of the aircraft, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said that there was no big deal in the act.
According to him, President Buhari informed the National Security Adviser of the move before his daughter embarked on the trip to Bauchi.
He said, “It’s true that a member of the First Family was flown to Bauchi on a mission duly authorised. It wasn’t an impromptu or improper trip because it followed normal procedure.
“The Presidency informed the National Security Adviser of the mission who in turn informed the Commander of the Presidential Air Fleet.
“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(s) authorised by the President.”
But condemning the act, rights lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, said the use of the Presidential jet by Buhari’s daughter amounts to an abuse of office and a waste of resources.
He stated, “Buhari is only fooling himself and his supporters with this fake integrity.”