The Federal Government’s proposal to sell three ageing presidential aircraft to finance the purchase of a new jet for President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has sparked controversy.

The social-political group, The Collective Movement (TCM), has condemned the move, labeling it as provocative and a misallocation of public funds during a time of widespread poverty and hunger.

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Comrade Frank Pius Onyeka, the National Coordinator of TCM, voiced the group’s concerns, highlighting that purchasing a new presidential jet amid severe economic hardship is perceived as extravagant and misaligned with the nation’s pressing needs.

He urged the government to reconsider the plan, suggesting that canceling or delaying the purchase would demonstrate a commitment to addressing the country’s austerity.

Onyeka emphasized that prioritizing luxury expenditures over essential public services undermines the government’s credibility and commitment to serving the public interest.

He pointed out that with food inflation reaching 40.66 percent in May and overall inflation at 33.95 percent, many Nigerians are struggling to meet basic needs like food, healthcare, and education.

The funds earmarked for the new jet, he argued, could be better utilized to address these pressing social issues.

“The decision to purchase a new presidential jet is uncharitable and negates the principle of prioritizing the needs of citizens,” Onyeka stated.

He noted that the luxury expenditure symbolizes the wealth gap between the ruling elite and the general population, exacerbating frustration and discontent.

He suggested that with commercial airlines and charter services available, a dedicated presidential jet is not essential for official business.

Onyeka urged the Tinubu administration to exhibit accountability and align its spending decisions with the country’s most pressing needs and priorities.

He called for leadership by example, stressing that government spending should reflect a commitment to tackling austerity and responsible stewardship of public resources, particularly when many citizens are struggling.

“The resources spent on presidential jets could be invested in initiatives that generate employment, stimulate economic growth, and reduce poverty,” Onyeka said.

He called for transparency regarding the costs and benefits of purchasing presidential jets and for the government to be held accountable for its decisions.

He also pointed to recent protests by the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) branch of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) over unresolved issues in Nigerian public universities as an indication of the government’s neglect and insincerity regarding the worsening living and working conditions of academic staff.

TCM’s stance underscores the need for the government to prioritize essential services and infrastructure over luxury items, to ensure that its actions align with the needs and expectations of its citizens, and to uphold the principles of social justice and equality.