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Buhari Spends N5bn on Presidential Fleet

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President Muhammadu Buhari

Despite the harsh economic situation in the country, the Federal Government has reportedly spent the sum of N5bn on the 10-aircraft Presidential Air fleet since coming to power, a document obtained from the Presidency showed.

According to the document, the Presidency has so far spent N5bn since the inception of this administration in May 2015. The breakdown showed N2.3bn was released between May and November 2015 for PAF by the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation.

Also, the figure includes personnel costs, overheads and capital expenditures, a total of N99.715m was spent on spares, maintenance and subscription services.

While the sum of N98.5m was spent on operations, a total of N165.373m was spent on training and N85.5m on personnel medicals and overheads.

The document also revealed that PAF spent N1.350bn to settle outstanding liabilities of the past administration, while N500m was refunded to the NSA for financial support rendered for the maintenance of the Fleet prior to release of funds.

According to industry experts, airlines spend between 15 and 20 percent of the cost of an aircraft on its operation yearly and a little less than one-fifth of the plane is spent every year on insurance, flight and cabin crew, maintenance, fuelling, catering and training.

Using a conservative percentage of 15 percent, it means that about $52.11m (N15.92bn) must have been spent on the PAF by May 29, 2016.

The General Secretary, Aviation Round Table, an industry pressure group, Group Captain John Ojikutu, said “It is high time the Presidency reduced the number of aircraft in that fleet. We can’t be spending our scarce forex to maintain a large fleet of 10 aircraft.”

Spending a N5bn on maintenance of 10 aircraft at a time when many states “cannot pay salaries and dozens of families going hungry across most parts of the country is insensitive and a hallmark of an anti-people regime,” said Mr. Debo Adeniran, Chairman Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders.

He said, “Spending that type of money on maintenance of aircraft is not the best at this time. It is profligacy, it is unnecessary and smacks of insensitivity on the part of the regime that is supposed to effect positive change in the lives of the people.”

“A few days ago the Federal Government launched the ‘Change begins with me’ campaign but I disagree with the government that because it is like shifting the goalpost to Nigerians. This administration has not shown us that it has good plans. All the policies that have been implemented so far – both fiscal and monetary – are anti-people. This is not the type of government that we yearned for.

“They criticised Goodluck Jonathan of keeping a large fleet of aircraft but they are also doing the same thing. I think Buhari is alone in his anti-corruption fight because most of his cabinet members have not been able to detach themselves from the lifestyle of the past regime.”

A former Governor of old Kaduna State, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, said President Buhari administration “is as wasteful as the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.”

“They should sell off some of the jets in order to reduce wastage of our economic resources and also to demonstrate the change they are talking about,” he added.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, Presidential Garba Shehu, hinted that there was a committee already deliberating on trimming the presidential fleet.

He made the revelation in a reaction to a tweet by blogger, Japheth Omojuwa, who asked why the Presidency has yet to reduce the 10 aircraft on its fleet.

“There is a government committee already in place, working to reduce the number of aircraft in the presidential fleet,” Shehu said.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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#EndSARS: Here is the Complete Speech of President Buhari

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Muhammadu Buhari

The Complete Speech of President Muhammadu Buhari

Following the Lekki Massacre, president Muhammadu Buhari delivered the much-awaited speech. However, the speech failed to touch on the massacre or the people affected, infuriating millions of Nigerian youths that have committed so much to the struggle and lost so much.

Below is the complete speech.

“Fellow Nigerians,

It has become necessary for me to address you having heard from many concerned Nigerians and having concluded a meeting with all the Security Chiefs.

As a democratic government, we listened to, and carefully evaluated the five-point demands of the protesters. And, having accepted them, we immediately scrapped SARS, and put measures in place to address the other demands of our youth.

On approving the termination of SARS I already made it clear that it was in line with our commitment to the implementation of extensive Police reforms.

Sadly, the promptness with which we have acted seemed to have been misconstrued as a sign of weakness and twisted by some for their selfish unpatriotic interests.

The result of this is clear to all observers: human lives have been lost; acts of sexual violence have been reported; two major correctional facilities were attacked and convicts freed; public and private properties completely destroyed or vandalised; the sanctity of the Palace of a peace-maker, the Oba of Lagos has been violated. So-called protesters have invaded an International Airport and in the process disrupted the travel plans of fellow Nigerians and our visitors.

All these executed in the name of the ENDSARS protests. I am indeed deeply pained that innocent lives have been lost. These tragedies are uncalled for and unnecessary.

Certainly, there is no way whatsoever to connect these bad acts to legitimate expression of grievance of the youth of our country.

The spreading of deliberate falsehood and misinformation through the social media in particular, that this government is oblivious to the pains and plight of its citizens, is a ploy to mislead the unwary within and outside Nigeria into unfair judgement and disruptive behaviour.

On the contrary, both our deeds and words have shown how committed this administration has been to the well being and welfare of citizens, even with the steadily dwindling revenues, and the added responsibilities and restrictions due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Government has put in place measures and initiatives principally targeted at youths, women and the most vulnerable groups in our society. These included our broad plan to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years; the creation of N75 billion National Youth Investment Fund to provide opportunities for the youths, and the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Survival Fund, through which government is:

a. paying 3-months salaries of the staff of 100,000 micro, small- and medium- enterprises
b. paying for the registration of 250,000 businesses at the Corporate Affairs Commission
c. giving a grant of N30,000 to 100,000 artisans
d. guaranteeing market for the products of traders

These are in addition to many other initiatives such as:

a. Farmermoni,
b. Tradermoni,
c. Marketmoni,
d. N-Power,
e. N-Tech and
f. N-Agro.

No Nigerian Government in the past has methodically and seriously approached poverty-alleviation like we have done.

With regard to the welfare of police personnel, the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission has been directed to expedite action on the finalization of the new salary structure of members of the Nigeria Police Force.

The emoluments of other paramilitary services are also being reviewed upwards.

In order to underscore the importance of education in preparing youths for the future, this administration has come up with a new salary structure and other incentives for our teachers.

Let me at this point reaffirm the Federal Government’s commitment to preserving the unity of this country.

We will continue to improve good governance and our democratic process, including through sustained engagement.

We shall continue to ensure that liberty and freedom, as well as the fundamental rights of all citizens, are protected.

But remember that government also has the obligation to protect lives and properties, as well as the right of citizens to go about their daily businesses freely and protected from acts of violence.

To our neighbours in particular, and members of the international community, many of whom have expressed concern about the ongoing development in Nigeria, we thank you and urge you all to seek to know all the facts available before taking a position or rushing to judgement and making hasty pronouncements.

In the circumstances, I would like to appeal to protesters to note and take advantage of the various well-thought-out initiatives of this administration designed to make their lives better and more meaningful, and resist the temptation of being used by some subversive elements to cause chaos with the aim of truncating our nascent democracy.

For you to do otherwise will amount to undermining national security and the law and order situation. Under no circumstances will this be tolerated.

I therefore call on our youths to discontinue the street protests and constructively engage government in finding solutions.

Your voice has been heard loud and clear and we are responding.

And I call on all Nigerians to go about their normal businesses, and enjoin security agencies to protect lives and properties of all law-abiding citizens without doing harm to those they are meant to protect.

Let me pay tribute to officers of the Nigeria Police Force who have tragically lost their lives in the line of duty.

I would like to thank those State Governors, traditional and religious leaders who have appealed for calm and restraint.

I also thank youth leaders who have restrained their followers from taking the law into their hands.

This government respects and will continue to respect all the democratic rights and civil liberties of the people, but it will not allow anybody or groups to disrupt the peace of our nation.

Thank you all. God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

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Passport, Visa Trend as Nigerian Youths Look to Move Out En masse Following Disappointing Presidential Speech

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Passport and Visa Trend on Twitter Following Disappointing Presidential Speech

Nigerian youths have started looking for a way to exit the country following a disappointing Presidential speech after security operatives opened fire on peaceful protesters on October 20, 2020 at Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos, Nigeria.

The youths, who have been protesting and demanding an end to the now-disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) unit of the Nigerian Police Force (NPF), had assembled at Lekki Toll Gate on October 20, 2020 to sustain their protest before the commencement of a 24-hour curfew declared by the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

However, shortly after they sang the national anthem, they were attacked by security operatives in one of the goriest scenes ever witnessed in the country. Despite calls for prosecution of perpetrators by both international and local civil rights organisations, the Federal Government has denied the occurrence even when Sanwo-Olu had earlier said forces beyond his control had made dark notes of history in the state.

This coupled with President Muhammadu Buhari’s refusal to acknowledge the killings and occurrence in his speech on Thursday, negatively affected the youths that for the first time went all out to demand a change in one voice.

Feeling dejected with the situation and most importantly hopeless about the future, they were forced to start seeking an exit from an uncertain future to a more predictable economy govern by sane people.

Since the failed presidential speech, Passport and Visa have been trending on Twitter as Nigerian youths now shift their focus to traveling out of Nigeria, a nation expected to plunge into the second economic recession in four years in the third quarter under President Muhammadu Buhari.

The inflation rate increased by 13.71 percent in September with the nation’s unemployment rate at 27.1 percent or 21.8 million amid rising economic uncertainties, weak foreign reserves and a currency that has been devalued twice this year.

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#EndSARS Protesters Kill as Security Operatives Open Fire at Lekki Toll Gate

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Security Operatives Open Fire on #EndSARS Protesters at Lekki Toll Gate

Nigerian security operatives deployed to Lekki Toll Gate following the announcement of a 24-hour curfew by Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, opened fire on peaceful protesters on Tuesday, October 20, 2020.

According to numerous accounts of protesters, the army started shooting even before the curfew announced to commence by 9 pm on Tuesday.

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