Viral post berates wealthy Nigerians buying private jets over creating jobs
Although the post is an opinion which does not require a fact check, the figures and facts presented in the post are misleading. The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority confirmed that the total number of private jets in Nigeria was around 190 as against 200 mentioned in the post.
It is true that ownership of private jets by Nigerians rose by 650% from 20 jets in 2007 to 150 jets in 2012 and not 20 jets in the year 2000. The unemployment rate in Nigeria is 33.3% which is the highest in 13 years.
The viral WhatsApp post titled ‘Private Jet ownership in Nigeria’ talked about how private jets increased in Nigeria after the tenure of Olusegun Obasanjo. The author even implied that successive governments’ inability to fight corruption was what led to the increase.
The author mentioned the price of jets, how much Nigerians have spent on acquiring them and the cost of maintenance which was described as a waste of money instead of providing employment for the people within the country by referencing the unemployment population of the country.
The viral post says;
“Private jet ownership in Nigeria
A Boeing Business Jet, currently the one used by president Buhari cost $80M, while the other jets favoured by other private individuals like Dangote and Adenuga are the Gulfstream (400-500 series) which cost $45M.
Other planes used by our elites are Hawker Siddley, Bombardier Challenger 600 series, Global Express, Embraer Legacy and Falcons; all depending on the deep pockets of the buyer.
The least price of this category is $35 million.
Forbes magazine claimed that Nigerians spent $6.5 Billion on planes in the past five years.
You will probably need a scientific calculator to get the Naira equivalent of that amount.
Between 2007 and 2012 demands for private jets by Nigerian class of the rich rose by 650 percent.
In year 2000 Nigeria had 20 private jets shared among the presidency, , Shell and few individuals.
That time Obasanjo and EFCC would sniff the accounts of any politician and businessman that ventured to buy a plane.
This number has increased exponentially in many folds as corruption and easy money gained ground during Yar’adua administration and the Jonathan government that showed no interest in fighting corruption.
The result was an avalanche of expensive jets parked in the sun as status symbols of Nigeria’s greedy and boisterous elite.
Read also: FACT CHECK: Does Buhari deserve credit for tackling insecurity, as claimed by his aide?
Early 2015 the Guardian reported a total number of private jets at 200 and still counting with new orders placed in US and Canada.
The figure is ten times the combined number of commercial air planes in the country.
There are presently only 20 operational commercial air crafts servicing the entire 200 million Nigerian public!
Poverty and unemployment are at epidemic and unacceptable levels now in Nigeria.
While the Federal Bureau of statistics put the graduate unemployment figure at 50%, the Federal Ministry of Labour put it at 45%.
We don’t know who to believe, Nigeria is notorious for inaccurate statistics.
The World Bank however put the national unemployment figure at 56%, meaning that a population of 167million Nigerians will translate to 60 million jobless on count, the equivalent of the combined population of the entire countries in the sub-continent, lumping Benin, Togo, Ghana and Ivory coast together.
I think the World Bank is being modest, actual unemployment could well be 80 percent.
Nonetheless they are grim statistics and a real threat to growth and national security.”
The author referenced Forbes with the claim that Nigerians spent $6.5 billion in the last five years. While the figure is right, Nigerians did spend $6.5 billion on private jets, the article published in 2012 was referring to 2007 to 2012 which also accounted for the 650% increase in private jet in Nigeria.
There are 23 operational airlines in Nigeria which does not translate to operational aircraft.
According to TheCable, in an investigative piece, it was discovered that before the 2015 general elections, there were 230 private jets in the country and prior to 2019 elections, the number had reduced to 190. The economic recession and fight against corruption played a huge role in the decrease.
The lowest cost of a private jet is $3 million, and not $35 million as stated in the post.
Unemployment rate in Nigeria rose to its highest in March 2021 hitting 33.3%, although it might read the second highest in the world but that is Nigeria’s highest in the last 13 years. This translates to 66.6 million Nigerians being jobless. It is not 56% nor is the Nigerian population 167 million.
The total sum of the population of Benin Republic, Togo, Ghana and Ivory Coast is 77.85 million which is way higher than the number of Nigeria’s jobless population.
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