Why FG must not purchase presidential jets now –TCM

National Coordinator, The Collective Movement, TCM, Mr. Frank Onyeka, has said  plans by the Federal Government to buy new aircraft for the presidential fleets amidst widespread poverty and hunger in the land was a provocative issue and misplaced priority that raises important questions about accountability posture of this government.
He admonished the government to cancel or delay the purchase of presidential jets, saying government attention this time should focus on addressing the issue of hunger and deprivation.
Frank who made this known in a statement by TCM’s Director of Media, Ndubuisi Nwachukwu, in Umuahia, Abia State on Sunday, noted that FG cancelling  the plane purchase would demonstrate the government’s commitment to stamping out austerity in the land.
According to him, the perceived extravagance and potential misallocation of resources may undermine the government’s credibility and commitment to serving the public interest.
TCM national coordinator explained that ultimately, the decision by FG to purchase two presidential jets at this austere time is very uncharitable and negates the principle of prioritizing the needs of citizens but the privileged few.
“Nigerians are finding it more difficult to feed themselves, with food inflation rising to 40.66 per cent in May. Inflation has moved by 0.26 per cent to 33.95 per cent from 33.69 per cent recorded in April.
‘’Spending on luxury items like private jets, when many citizens struggle with basic needs like food, healthcare, and education, raises questions about the government’s priorities.
‘’The funds allocated to purchasing and maintaining presidential jets could be better utilized to address hunger, poverty, and other pressing social issues.
‘’A luxurious presidential jet may symbolize the wealth gap between the ruling elite and the general population, exacerbating frustration and discontent.
‘’With commercial airlines and charter services available, some argue that a dedicated presidential jet is not essential for official business.’’
 Frank, therefore, urged President Bola Tinubu-led administration to exhibit accountability, adding that the government must justify its spending decisions and demonstrate how they align with the country’s most pressing needs and priorities.
The socio-political group, coordinator, advised FG to display leadership by example, saying the government’s spending choices should reflect a commitment to tackle austerity and responsible stewardship of public resources, especially when many citizens are struggling.
He added, ‘’The resources spent on presidential jets could be invested in initiatives that will generate employment, stimulate economic growth, and reduce poverty.
‘’The government should be transparent about the costs and benefits of purchasing presidential jets, and be held accountable for its decision.
‘’The government should prioritize the basic needs of its citizens, such as food security, healthcare, education, and infrastructure, over luxury items.
‘’The perception of a government prioritizing luxury over people’s needs may damage Nigeria’s international reputation and credibility.
‘’The juxtaposition of luxurious presidential jets with widespread poverty and hunger may exacerbate feelings of social injustice and inequality.’’
The staging of a protest recently by Ahmadu Bello University, ABU, Zaria, a branch of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, over the failure of FG to resolve issues plaguing Nigerian public universities indicates the government’s insincerity and neglect of the worsening living and working conditions of academic staff.

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