A Boeing Business Jet (Boeing 737-700) marked 5N-FGT and owned by the Nigerian Government that was earlier taken to Germany for repairs is back in Nigeria after three months.
Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, disclosed this in a Facebook post on Sunday.
He said, “President Muhammadu Buhari is back in Abuja after attending the three-day Turkey-Africa Partnership Summit in Istanbul.
“The official BBJ aircraft which he hadn’t used for several months as it underwent repairs and improvements landed at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport at exactly 2:35 pm.”
SaharaReporters had exclusively reported how the jet developed a fault while President Buhari and his entourage were returning to Abuja from the UN General Assembly in the Unites States on September 25, 2021.
Sources said the aircraft was subsequently moved to Euro Airport in Germany on September 29 and arrived at 4:15 pm after leaving the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport at 9:48 am, with the Nigerian Government paying €5,000 per night as parking fee.
To avoid any backlash, SaharaReporters gathered that the registration of the 5N-FGT aircraft was done using AMACGND
“The Presidential Boeing Business Jet registration number 5N-FGT developed a fault during his trip from New York. He travelled to Saudi Arabia with a smaller jet. A Falcon 7X jet with registration number 5N-FGV. No picture of his departure to Saudi Arabia was released to avoid the public knowing about the jet he travelled with,” a Presidency source had told SaharaReporters.
“The one that developed (a) fault has been moved to Euro Airport Basel Mulhouse Freiburg, Germany, for repairs since September. It is registered and operated under another name AMACGND. They intentionally hid it and parked it under another name because it costs €5,000 for parking per night.”
While the aircraft underwent repairs in Germany, a Gulfstream Aerospace (5N-FGW) and Falcon 7X jet (5N-FGV) were used by the President for his numerous foreign trips.
Despite promising to cut waste, the Buhari-led government has spent at least N41billion on the Presidential fleet.
After taking office on May 29, 2015, the 2016 Appropriation Act signed by the President allocated N3.652billion for the upkeep of the Presidential fleet.
In 2017, the cost of maintenance of the Presidential aircraft rose to N4.37billion (19.6 per cent).
The figure skyrocketed to N7.260billion (98.7 per cent) in 2018.
In 2019, the cost of maintaining the PAF again rose to N7.297billion (99.6 per cent).
The allocation, however, fell to N6.793billion (86 per cent) in 2020.
But in 2021, the budget for the Presidential fleet saw its sharpest Buhari-era jump to N12.550billion (243.6 per cent).
By comparison, the 2015 budget, which was in effect upon Buhari’s inauguration, earmarked N5.190billion for the Presidential fleet.
The appropriation for the Presidential Air Fleet in 2021 indicates a 243.6 per cent increase from the allocation six years prior.