A recent investigation by Punch has shown that wealthy Nigerians have spent a sum of $6.5bn (N1.02tn) on private jets in the last five years. This luxury trend has risen by a significant 650 percent in the last five years. Between 2007 and 2012, private jet ownership has grown from 20 to 150. This reveals that wealthy Nigerians have acquiried at least 130 jets worth up to N1.02tn in the last five years.
You might ask why I’m interested in this story. In every society, the gap between the rich and the poor is often startling and Nigeria is no different. With a large percentage of the population having no access to basic education, average shelter, food, clothing and living under $1 dollar daily, it is quite interesting to note that a growing number of people are “fortunate” enough to spend up to $50m on a brand new private jet.
A private jet costs between $40m and $65m. A brand new Bombardier Challenger 604, one of the most commonly used private jets in the country costs about $55m.
According to findings from the report, the common brands of private jets in Nigeria are Gulfstream 450, 550 and 650; Bombardier Challenger 604, 605; Global Express; Embraer Legacy and Falcons; and Hawker Siddley 125-800 and 900XP.
The report also reveals that Nigeria and China are two of the fastest growing private jet markets in the world.
So who is purchasing these aircrafts?
A source mentioned that the jets were being bought by top politicians, oil magnates and other business moguls in Nigeria. It is difficult to find their identities because most of them buy them through some foreign companies in North America, especially the US. The foreign company then lease it to another company in Nigeria. The investigation also revealed that several private jets have been ordered by wealthy Nigerians which would be delivered this year or later in 2013 an 2014.
This shows that the figures are still going to rise.
The CEO of an airline noted that during political meetings or big functions in Abuja, over 50 private jets are usually seen parked at the Abuja airport.
It is indeed saddening that in a society where people have several private jets, many can not afford 3 square meals! This brazen show of wealth has pushed many into heinous crimes and money making rituals. I have no grouse with the fact that some people can afford private jets. Infact, if some people are making that kind of money in Nigeria, then it should be an indication that our economy is thriving.
However, with corruption practices and a production system that ensures the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, the trend of rising private jet ownership in the country isn’t something to rejoice about.
Or what do you think?