President Muhammadu Buhari has restricted the use of aircraft in the presidential fleet by his wife, Hajiya Aisha, and relations.
It was learnt that some members of the First Family will now use commercial flight, unless it becomes compelling for them to fly in presidential aircraft.
Apart from saving cost, the President is said to be determined to prevent abuse of the presidential fleet.
To set example for others, the President made sure that his wife and three children performed Umrah (Lesser Hajj) to Makkah through Emirates Airline.
They also came back with the same airline.
Besides the tough measure on aircraft, the President is yet to make up his mind on whether or not his wife should be addressed as the First Lady. Hajiya Aisha Buhari is known and addressed as the “wife of the President”.
The President was worried by the security reports on high cost of maintaining the presidential aircraft and abuse by some highly-placed Nigerians.
During the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, about N9.08billion was spent yearly to maintain the 10 aircraft in the Presidential Air Fleet (PAF).
The aircraft are two Falcon 7X jets, two Falcon 900 jets, Gulf stream 550, one Boeing 737 BBJ (Nigerian Air Force 001 or Eagle One) and Gulf Stream IVSP.
Others are one Gulf Stream V, Cessna Citation 2 aircraft and a Hawker Siddley 125-800 jet.
A source said: “President Buhari has adopted a strict policy on the use of presidential aircraft in order to save cost. His wife and relations have been restricted from the use of the aircraft in the presidential fleet.
“A situation where the aircraft were used anyhow by some friends, associates of the President during the administration of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan can no longer be applicable in this dispensation.
“For example, the wife of the President, Hajiya Aisha Buhari and three children travelled for lesser Hajj in Saudi Arabia on Emirates Airline.
“Buhari is determined to ensure the judicious use of the presidential aircraft to save cost. He is also setting a new template for governance. Do not be surprised if you see the President using commercial flights.”
Another source said: “Do you know that it costs about N747 million to fuel the aircraft in the presidential fleet per annum. President Buhari said his administration cannot afford such a luxury.”
“The US President, Barrack Obama uses only two Boeing jets and one helicopter. So, Buhari is determined to cut cost. In any case, he lives an austere life. If he can ask his wife to fly a commercial jet, then other public officers must emulate his standard.”
It was not immediately clear if the President will sell some of the aircraft in the Presidential Air Fleet as being speculated.
The Senior Special Assistant on Media to the President, Mallam Garba Shehu, on June 19, said he was not aware of such a plan.
The President is yet to make up his mind on whether or not his wife should be addressed as the First Lady.
A source said: “I think the President does not want the Office of the First Lady hijacked by vested interests as the case between 2010 and 2015 when Jonathan was in charge.
“So far, Hajiya Aisha Buhari is known and addressed as the ‘Wife of the President’.”
When contacted, the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, said: “I didn’t ask the President why he let her go on Emirates. But given the tone of his leadership, I will, however, say with all confidence that he is, by doing that, sending an important message to the country.”
APPLY: WTO opens entry for 2022 young professionals programme
The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has opened applications for its 2022 Young Professional Programme (YPP).
The programme provides opportunity for young professionals to enhance their knowledge of the organisation and international trade issues.
In 2021, 14 professionals out of 2,400 candidates were selected for the programme from Bangladesh, Belize, Dominican Republic, Eswatini, Guatemala, Georgia, Indonesia, Malawi, Mauritania, Namibia, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Chinese Taipei and Thailand.
WTO said “The YPP is a unique opportunity to gain hands-on experience which can help open the door for future professional opportunities in the field of multilateral diplomacy and global trade.
“The YPP selection gives preference to young professionals from developing and least-developed countries that are members of the WTO and whose nationals are currently under-represented or not represented in the organization’s Secretariat.
“The programme is part of the Secretariat’s overall goal to increase its diversity to better reflect the make-up of its membership.”
To be eligible, applicants must be of age 32 as of January 1, 2022, and selected candidates will work at the WTO secretariat for one year, starting from the beginning of next year.
The areas of work at the programme includes accessions, agriculture, dispute settlement, intellectual property rights, market access, media and external relations, WTO rules, trade and development, trade and environment, trade in services and investment, trade facilitation, trade policy analysis and trade-related technical assistance.
WTO said candidates must have advanced university degree in law, economics, or other international trade-related subjects relevant to WTO work; must possess relevant expertise or continued academic study in a field of interest to the work of the WTO.
Equally, candidates must similarly have a minimum of two years relevant work experience.
The trade organisation further said selected candidates will be paid $3821.66 (N1,454,141.63 million) monthly and applications can be accessed on the WTO e-Recruitment website and should be completed no later than 29 April 2021.
Buhari receives briefing from Osinbajo
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Monday briefed President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The President had last Thursday returned to the country after a16-day medical trip to London, United Kingdom.
He left Nigeria on Tuesday, March 30, briefly after a security meeting with defense and intelligence chiefs as well as other security sector managers.
Gunmen attack Imo police station, kidnap officer
A police officer has been abducted in an attack on Mbieri Divisional Police Headquarters in Mbaitoli Local Government Area of Imo state on Thursday morning.
This comes three days after the state Police Command headquarters and Owerri Correctional Center were attacked while 1,884 inmates released.
A resident of Mbieri said the gunmen released the suspects in custody.
However, the policemen on duty were said to have engaged the attackers in a gun duel but they were reportedly overpowered by the gunmen who had sophisticated weapons.
A community leader, Nokey Ebikam, told newsmen that the police divisional headquarters was not burnt but only freed the suspects in detention after vandalizing it.
Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Orlando Ikeokwu, confirmed the attack on the police station but did not go into details.
It was gathered that aside the officer who was abducted, two others sustained injuries in the incident which is the second major attack on a police station since an armed gang invaded the state police headquarters on Monday.
The Police authorities have blamed the attacks on the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) but the group has distanced itself from the attacks.
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