An unusual opportunity has opened up for the very wealthy in the classified ads of Nigerian newspapers – the chance to buy a used presidential jet. Two luxury aircraft from President Muhammadu Buhari’s fleet of 10 – or even 11 if some reports are to be believed – will go on sale as part of a government commitment to cut public “waste”.
Mr Buhari was elected president last year on a commitment to crack down on the country’s systemic corruption, and a spokesman said downsizing the outlandish presidential fleet had been among his campaign pledges.
But while the anti-corruption drive has been widely praised, falling oil prices have seen the Nigerian economy go into recession for the first time in more than 20 years.
A critical shortage of foreign currency means the two jets being sold off, a Dassault Falcon 7x executive jet and a Beechcraft Hawker 4000 business jet, will be listed for sale in US dollars.
Presidential spokesman Garba Shehu said newspaper advertisements for the sale of two presidential planes had been authorised by the presidency. They will run as auctions, in a bid to maximise the money from the sale.
“This is in line with the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari that aircraft in the presidential air fleet be reduced to cut down on waste,” said Mr Shehu.
The statement also said Mr Buhari will hand over other aircraft to the Nigerian Air Force for its operations.
A former military leader of the country, Mr Buhari has made a vow to tackle Boko Haram militants another key tenet of his presidency.
Mr Shehu did not specify how many presidential jets would be given over to this purpose, or exactly what they would be tasked with doing.
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