Femi Falana, senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), says the use of aircraft in the presidential fleet by members of President Muhammadu Buhari is illegal.
The foremost human rights lawyer said Buhari must stop the use of aircraft in the presidential fleet by his family members for private events because it has no backing of the law.
This comes after Hanan Buhari, flew in a presidential jet to a private event in Bauchi on Thursday.
The development sparked outrage among many Nigerians, including the opposition Peoples Democratic Party(PDP).
However, Buhari’s spokesperson, Garba Shehu, in a statement, said the first family have a right to use the presidential aircraft.
“The normal practice in existence for a long time is that the presidential air fleet is available to the president and the first family and four others. These four are the vice-president, the senate president the speaker and any other person authorised by the president,” he said.
Falana, in a statement on Sunday, said; there is no such practice, and that the “official policy” of the federal government “does not authorise the children of the President to use the presidential jets to attend to private social functions.
“In fact, there is no precedent whatsoever for such privatisation of the presidency of Nigeria.
“The so called ‘normal practice’ of using the aircraft in the presidential fleet by members of the first family to attend to private engagements is not backed by any extant law or official policy,” he added.
“In view of the foregoing, we call on President Buhari to stop the members of his family from using any of the aircraft in the presidential fleet “with a view to cutting down on waste”.
“A country that is said to be the headquarters of the greatest number of poverty stricken people in the world cannot afford to waste billions of Naira on the use of presidential aircraft and hiring of commercial jets by state governors that are owing workers several months of unpaid salaries.”