By Denrele Animasaun
“The ash always follows the person who throws it” -A Yoruba proverb
For our president, one plane was never going to be enough. Our ten-plane president, if it is to be believed, is to add to the fleet for a procurement of a brand new private jet, which will become the Presidential Air Fleet’s (PAF) 11th aircraft. The PAF already boasts of two Falcon 7X jets, two Falcon 900 jets, Gulfstream 550, one Boeing 737 BBJ (Nigerian Air Force 001 or Eagle One), and Gulfstream IVSP. Others are one Gulfstream V, Cessna Citation 2 aircraft and Hawker Siddley 125-800 jet. The combined estimated value of the PAF is about $390.5m (N60.53bn).
Imagine how many hospitals and schools that can build, talk less of the amount it takes to maintain the oil guzzlers and stand-by crew and administration. To put this in context, the US president does not personally own a single plane but has access to two, yes, I said, TWO customised 747s. The UK Prime minister, David Cameron does not have a single plane; he often has to charter BA or Virgin Atlantic planes. So why can’t they emulate the US and UK?
While the masses are struggling and GEJ would, like many of us believe that he knows how the average Nigerian feels. I think not. He has not got a clue and in fact he is not in touch with the average Nigerian.
As Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati said, in the defence of president ten-plane: “A presidential jet is not difficult to identify. It bears a clear mark.” Yes, of course, one of complete incompetence and utter arrogance. It shows their overblown level of self-importance and self-aggrandisement that, they can boast without flinching of such opulence in the face of grinding poverty.
Sleight of hand, the conjurer’s trick
It is becoming so harrowing watching the news and in particular when it concerns the lives of thousands of innocent Nigerians. It saddens me to see yet another atrocities committed by Boko Haram. On Tuesday, the Moulood festival was marred by the car bomb that exploded in Maiduguri. These so-called rebels without a cause do not need any excuse to kill and maim their way through the city. The number of lives lost continues to swell without the end in sight. People seem to be like sitting ducks, so helplessly anxious and vulnerable not knowing where the next hit will be. Surely, our chief of staff should have the authority and might to quell the insurgence. GEJ is clutching straws and we all know he has not got a handle on things despite the intensified onslaught by the army, that saw many people arrested in the north. I mean GEJ continues to leave the door open for dialogue and reconciliation but BK does not seem to want to smoke the peace pipe with the FG. What is Jonah waiting for before he acts? It is understood that President Goodluck Jonathan has ordered the release of 167 people who were arrested during a military campaign according to the Ministry of Defense. So where does it leave the ordinary people? It seems that that the group has nothing to live for but to spread their brand of hatred and chaos with impunity. I am at loss that the President had promised that this terror group will be eradicated and still people are dying and livelihood depleted, don’t talk about schools and churches that are abandoned; they are holding people to ransom and the government remains slow and indecisive. I understand that the army have made a sizeable inroads in some areas but more needs to be done for people to begin to rebuild their neighbourhoods, begin trusting one another and living their lives without looking across their shoulders in fear and horror.
All this bombardment has a psychological impact on the lives of the people left behind and surviving does not mean that they can start their lives again. The trauma is indelibly imprinted in their psyche and they would need help and the lack of support will have long term repercussions. It would be interesting to see what the government and the affected state have in place to help regenerate the areas once the bane of the north is annihilated.
This is 2014 and it is about time GEJ stops napping and get to work after all, he is the president and need we remind him that 2015 is round the corner. If he cannot resolve this what use is he to the country, now or next year? United Nations figures shows that more than 1,200 people have been killed in Islamist-related violence since the state of emergency started. There are ten times that amount just existing in this nightmarish siege.
Home and abroad
Olajide Onikoyi,a 29-year-old Nigerian has been jailed for scamming hundreds of UK students out of millions of pounds. He and his gang stole up to £1.5 million by sending targeted students an invitation to update their details of their student loan accounts. So he and cyber bandit mates access unsuspecting students and relieve them of their money and some had more that £19,000 taken from their account.
Over 238 students were stung Detective Chief Inspector Jason Tunn, of the MPS Cyber Crime Unit, said: “My officers worked doggedly to secure Onikoyi’s conviction. He said that “He played a significant role in the scam by systematically targeting British students and UK financial institutions in order to steal large amounts of money that were then dispersed across numerous bank accounts.”
For those Nigerians that are convinced crime pays, they will get their eventual just dessert. Onikoyi and his mates will be serving time at her majesty’s prison and after he serves his time, he will be deported .