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COVID Can Wait! Rich Nigerians Fly Private Jets in and Out of Nigeria

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COVID Can Wait! Rich Nigerians Fly Private Jets in and Out of Nigeria

COVID Can Wait! Rich Nigerians Fly Private Jets in and Out of Nigeria
June 27
09:56 2020

The gap between the rich and the poor is as wide as the Grand Canyon. From the ways they live in opulence and style to places where they go to, the moneyed class never wavers in the tiniest of details that have to do with their well-being. It is why many of them are splurging on private jet travels to choice destinations despite the closure of airspaces around the world.

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, thereby, necessitating countries around the world to impose a travel ban to contain its spread, wealthy Nigerians have been circumventing flight bans with private jet flights as they are desperate to continue living their life of luxury and, as some argued, to minimize their public exposure. Though the money they spend on private jet flights is staggering as one round trip to Europe in a Gulfstream 550 jet from the United States with five passengers can easily cost the client six figures, they are not bothered. Life is for the living, many of them may have reckoned. 

Pandemic or no, the ultra-wealthy still have places to be and airline options are not available. Thus, when Seyi Tinubu, scion of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, had to go be with his pregnant wife, Layal, in London days back, he settled for a Bombardier Express 7000 with registration number VP-CBT, one of his billionaire father’s private jets. Layal put to bed yesterday, June 25th. In a statement signed by his aide, Khadijah Ibrahim, Seyi was said to be present during the birth of his second child in the London hospital. 

One of the former Lagos State governor’s jets, a Falcon 900X with registration number T7-JAT, was recently in the news for flying President Muhammadu Buhari’s Personal Assistant, Sabiu ‘Tunde’ Yusuf, from Abuja to Lagos and back. It was also reported by a popular news website that two children of the oil magnate, Folorunsho Alakija – Folarin and Rotimi – flew a private jet with registration number VP-CFO from Lagos to Luton Airport, London, on May 22nd. 

Earlier on May 8, six members of the late Chief of General Staff, Vice Admiral Mike Okhai Akhigbe’s family reportedly also boarded a private jet with registration number 5N-KAS from the Muritala Mohammed Airport, Lagos to Stansted Airport, Essex. 

The same month, Karl Olutokun Toriola, Vice President, West and Central Africa of MTN, was onboard a private jet with registration number FLJ611 from Spain to Nigeria. It was also revealed that Belo-Osagie Yasmin, daughter of billionaire banker and former chairman of Etisalat, Hakeem Belo-Osagie, was the only passenger in a private jet with registration number D-CAWX, which flew from London to Nigeria on May 8.

Locally, the situation is not any different as private jet owners have seen a spike in the demand for their services. But it came at a cost for Executive Jet Services recently. The airline had flown rave singer, Naira Marley, to Abuja from Lagos for a concert contrary to the federal government’s interstate travel ban.

The resultant backlash from Nigerians compelled the Ministry of Aviation to place its operations on indefinite suspension. That, still, is not enough deterrent as the Lagos to Abuja route remains very lucrative for private jet operators.

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