The presidency has reacted to a debate raging on social media over the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to allow his daughter, Hanan Buhari, to use the Presidential jet for her photoshoots.
KanyiDaily had reported that Hanan Buhari, who is a certified creative photographer with a first-class degree in Photography from Ravensbourne University in London, had flown into Bauchi to photograph a Durbar by Emir of Bauchi, Rilwanu Adamu.
The durbar was specially organized to avail the president’s daughter of the opportunity to take photographs of the traditional event as part of her fieldwork for her ongoing Master’s programme in Photography at the London university.
Miss Buhari’s visit on presidential jet has caused social media storm, with most people condemning the use of the Nigerian Airforce aircraft for “personal use”.
However, the Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu defended the action, saying the wife and children of the President Buhari have the right to use the Presidential jet for their personal engagement.
The President’s spokesman said Hanan received approval from her father who in turn informed the National Security Adviser.
“It’s true that a member of the First Family was flown to Bauchi, Thursday, on a mission duly authorised. There is nothing wrong there. It wasn’t an impromptu or improper trip, as it followed normal procedure…
“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) so permitted by the President…”
About N8.5bn was allocated for the maintenance of the Presidential jet in the 2020 budget, and Nigerians had been complaining that the budget is too high.
This is despite the fact that the All Progressives Congress (APC) had promised to sell off some of the jets in the Presidential fleet due to the high cost of maintenance.
Only two helicopters out of the fleet of 10 was donated to the Nigerian Air Force while two presidential aircraft, a Falcon 7X executive jet and Hawker 4000, that were advertised for sale in October 2016, had yet to be sold as of 2018.