A plane too many (2)

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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 .

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