Buhari’s daugh­ter wrong to use pres­i­den­tial jet –Falana

The Punch - - NEWS - Eniola Akinkuotu, Abuja

UMAN rights lawyer, Mr Femi Falana (SAN), has said the chil­dren of the Pres­i­dent have no right to con­vert the Pres­i­den­tial jet to per­sonal use.

he, there­fore, be­rated the Pres­i­dent’s Se­nior Spe­cial As­sis­tant on Me­dia and Pub­lic­ity, Garba Shehu, for say­ing by tra­di­tion all mem­bers of the first fam­ily had the right to use the Pres­i­den­tial jet for pri­vate en­gage­ments.

Buhari’s daugh­ter, hanan, had come un­der fire for us­ing the Pres­i­den­tial jet to at­tend an event in Bauchi State last week where she was in­vited to take pic­tures and make a cat­a­logue of Bauchi arts and cul­ture as part of her pet project.

The Pres­i­dent’s spokesman had in re­ac­tion to crit­i­cisms, 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 Vi­cepres­i­dent, the Se­nate Pres­i­dent, the Speaker and any other per­son(s) au­tho­rised by the Pres­i­dent.”

In a state­ment on Sun­day, how­ever, Falana de­scribed the use of the Pres­i­den­tial jet for per­sonal use as an abuse of of­fice.

The ac­tivist said, “With re­spect, the state­ment cred­ited to the Pres­i­dency is in­cor­rect as it is at vari­ance with the of­fi­cial pol­icy of the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment. In other words, the of­fi­cial pol­icy 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. hav­ing pub­licly de­clared that his ad­min­is­tra­tion would main­tain ‘a com­pact and re­li­able air­craft for the safe air­lift of the Pres­i­dent, the Vi­cepres­i­dent and other gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials that go on spe­cial mis­sions’ Pres­i­dent Buhari is stopped from al­low­ing mem­bers of the first fam­ily to use the jets for their pri­vate af­fairs.”

The se­nior ad­vo­cate asked the Pres­i­dency to apol­o­gise to Nige­ri­ans rather than jus­tify the act.

he re­minded Buhari that Nige­ria, which is the poverty cap­i­tal of the world, could not con­tinue to waste over N8bn yearly on main­tain­ing Pres­i­den­tial jets.

Falana asked the Pres­i­dent to hon­our his pledge to re­duce the cost of gov­er­nance and re­duce the num­ber of planes in the Pres­i­den­tial fleet.

he state, “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.”

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