Nigerians on social media are divided over the propriety of the president’s daughter using a presidential jet on a private mission.
One school of thought avers that the use of the jet by law is for the exclusive use of the president, his vice and for leaders of the legislature – the Senate and House of Representatives. The others insist that as a member of the First Family, the president’s daughter has earned the right to the jet.
Commenting on the development, presidential spokesman Garba Shehu is quoted by the local Punch newspaper as confirming that the use of the jet by Hanan Buhari for a trip to Bauchi State was not irregular.
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) authorised by the President.
Hanan, a graduate of photography from a UK university used the jet when she was invited to a durbar last week by Rilwanu Adamu, emir of Bauchi.
Shehu said Hanan’s trip had been duly authorised by the presidency following which the office of the national security adviser (NSA) to release the jet. “It’s true that a member of the First Family was flown to Bauchi yesterday on a mission duly authorised,” Shehu told the Punch.
“It wasn’t an impromptu or improper trip because it followed normal procedure. The Presidency informed the National Security Adviser of the mission who in turn informed the Commander of the Presidential Air Fleet.
“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) authorised by the President,” he added.
Amid the back and forth about the use of the jet, the First Lady Aisha Buhari tweeted a video of her daughter’s exploits during her visit to Bauchi.
The video gave a new lease of life to the debate as people interpreted it as the First Lady throwing shade at concerned Nigerians. One of the main shots in the video shows Hanan waving from inside the jet. It is, however, dominated by photos of her engagements in Bauchi.
For a number of concerned Nigerians, the move showed inconsistency on the part of president Buhari who together with key allies – now in government – slammed the former president Goodluck Jonathan of misusing the presidential jet back in 2015.
A number of activists have been digging up especially tweets relating to how then opposition members slammed Jonathan but have remained mute with the current ‘misuse’ of the jet.