The former governor of Borno State, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, has added another airplane to his fleet with his latest acquisition being a new Gulfstream jet G650 model that cost him an estimated $72 million (N11.5 billion).
Registered in Dubai with special specifications, the aircraft is the fourth in his fleet, as he already has three old Dornier aircraft which he acquired from Aero Contractors at an estimated $3 million (N480 million).
The Dornier aircraft were said to be used for charter services as the former governor recently obtained an Air Operator Certificate (AOC) from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) for his airline, Skybird. But a source said that this new acquisition, the Gulfstream was acquired for Sheriff’s personal use, as the aircraft was top of the range, and no would want to deploy such for commercial service.
The actions of the former governor, who has been alleged to fund the terrorist Boko Haram sect in North-eastern Nigeria, on the new aircraft, has been described by a Nigerian pilot as unpatriotic.
According to him, by registering the aircraft overseas, Sheriff had denied Nigeria taxes and import duty on the aircraft. No Nigerian pilot or engineer would also be employed to operate or work on the aircraft because with the foreign registration, only pilots and engineers licensed in the United Arab Emirates would be authorised to operate and service the aircraft.
“By registering the aircraft overseas, he has avoided tax and import duty, which he should pay to a country where he is a citizen and from which he made the money which he now spends on a foreign crew,” he said.
According to US-based Forbes magazine, the Gulfstream G650 has an order book of 200 customers throughout the world.
Gulfstream described the aircraft as ultra-high-speed, ultra-long-range business jet and the gold standard in business aviation.
The model was introduced in 2008 with a capacity for eight passengers and a crew of four on nonstop legs of 7,000 nautical miles (12,964 km) for standard configuration.
“That means it will link Dubai with New York and London with Buenos Aires. With its powerful Rolls-Royce BR725 engines, the G650 will cover shorter distances at a speed of Mach 0.925. No traditional business jet will take you closer to the speed of sound,” Gulfstream said on its website.
This is from a Governor who left the Governorship seat just 3 years ago and left his state with one of the highest rates of poverty, and one of the lowest school attendance rates. And now Borno State is one of the most dangerous places in the world due to terrorism with poverty being linked as one of the key causes of sign up to the Boko Haram cause.
Source: Information Nigeria