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Tinubu flies private jet to S’Africa, avoids faulty presidential aircraft

Nigerian President Bola Tinubu and his entourage departed Lagos on Tuesday to attend the inauguration of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in Pretoria. The president was accompanied by Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Deputy Governor Obafemi Hamzat, and other government officials.

According to sources, the president and his team boarded two private jets, as the presidential jets are reportedly no longer in good condition.

Efforts to confirm the report from the Special Adviser to the President on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga, and the Minister of Information, Idris Mohammed, were unsuccessful as they did not respond to calls or messages.

President Tinubu left the Presidential Wing of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Ikeja at around 11:06 am aboard a Dassault Falcon 8X aircraft. According to presidential spokesman Ajuri Ngelale, the president is attending Ramaphosa’s inauguration following his re-election for a second term.

This development comes just 24 hours after the presidency responded to Labour Party presidential candidate Peter Obi’s objection to a demand for new aircraft for the presidential fleet. The House of Representatives Committee on National Security and Intelligence had recently recommended that the government purchase new aircraft for President Tinubu and Vice-President Kashim Shettima.

Obi described the move as unfortunate, saying it came at a time when Nigerians are struggling with economic hardship caused by government policies. However, the presidency responded by describing Obi’s comment as insensitive and wondering if he would rather have the president’s life jeopardized by flying faulty aircraft.

Onanuga questioned Obi’s intentions, asking if he wanted President Tinubu to die while traveling in an old plane. He also questioned why anyone would want to toy with the president’s welfare. The presidential spokesman also cited a recommendation by the National Assembly to purchase new aircraft for the presidential fleet.

It is unclear when President Tinubu will return to Nigeria or what other events he will attend during his trip to South Africa.

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