Outrageous! How Nigerian Aviation Minister, Hadi Siriki, spent ‘Chicken Change’ N12Bn to Purchase 10 Fire Trucks
By Ed Malik, A | ed@ddnewsonline.com |
posted April 4, 2023

In my opinion, with the disclosure on Sunday that he spent just ‘chicken change’ N12 billion to acquire 10 firefighting trucks for the Federal Airports Authority (FAAN), Aviation Minister, Hadi Siriki, who’s said to be related somewhat to President Muhammadu Buhari, has shown that the word ‘outrageous’ was not placed in the dictionary for naught.

Else, how can any sane person with modest economic wisdom spend such a humongous and mind-bending amount to acquire ten funny-looking trucks for Nigerian airports and still, be able to sleep with full satisfaction that he has served the objective to the best of his transaction ability? Something is definitely wrong somewhere.

According to an aviation consultant that DDNews sought comments from, who prefers to remain unanimous; “the purchase of these trucks is devoid of economic wisdom when viewed in the context of other infrastructural deficiencies at our airports begging for attention. Certainly, the cost is a concern here”, he said.

The underlying articles of the disclosure, as captured in the Minister’s post on his official Twitter handle, is the more expressive of a lack of mental capacity to appreciate the gloomy region of economic ‘deadwoodism’ where the nation is coming from, and where we are now, with never-before-experienced liquidity squeeze hitting every aspect of the economy (that’s if the pieces left of the economy after the financial experimentation that resulted in a new word aptly called ‘EmeFAILURE’ entering our national vocabulary, is anything to write home about).

Simply, the Aviation Minister, Hadi Siriki posted on his Twitter, thus:

“Just commissioned 10 Firefighting trucks, the total cost of over 12Bn Naira. More to come in due course. Safety has been the Buhari focus in Aviation since 2015. Hitherto, FAAN has not bought new trucks in 15 years.”

Nobody should tell me that Nigeria is not under siege. What fire truck on planet earth or even yet to be built one to shade the sun as being propounded by Bill Gates, would cost a princely $2M USD just like that? Abi is one has an inbuilt river or water works?

Trying to do basic arithmetic to ascertain how much the 10 trucks have set our national Treasury back by, I borrowed some extrapolation from a popular online site, the Sahara Reporters, which “revealed that the most delectable ARFF truck on the planet is the Striker, built by the Oshkosh Truck Corporation in Wisconsin which costs $675,000 which is equivalent to N311 million at the official exchange rate of N460 to $1 and about N506 million at the parallel market rate of N750 to $1.”

The online portal went further to apprise us of the deep ‘shit-hole’ in terms of our domestic indebtedness that no one has figured out how the next generations of Nigeria can get out of this financial quagmire.

“Meanwhile, the Debt Management Office estimated the country’s total domestic indebtedness at N21,551,924,507,448 as of September 30, 2022, while foreign creditors were owed $39.66 billion.

Also, a report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) shows that in the third quarter (Q3) of 2022, Nigeria’s public debt stock rose to N44.06 trillion ($101.91 billion) from N42.84 trillion ($103.31 billion) recorded in the second quarter (Q2) of the same year.

The data was contained in the NBS’ Nigerian Domestic and Foreign Debt Report for Q3 2022 released in Abuja on Tuesday, January 31, 2023.

According to the report, Nigeria’s public debt stock, which includes external and domestic debt, increased by 2.84 per cent in Q3 of 2022.

It said that external debt stood at N17.14 trillion ($39.66 billion) while domestic debt was N26.91 trillion (62.25 billion dollars) within the period under review.”

The Minister’s infamous tweet exemplifies a bubble mentality to court more rage, as he said there’s “More to come in due course” More of what to come? That’s not a mere statement but testing waters to see the shock reading on our nation’s thermometer of the outrageous, possibly. Of course, the skyway of the aviation ministry under Siriki is strewn with several projects that sucked quantum funds but haven’t seen the light of day.

To capture the minister’s disdain for best practices; in his May Day address in 2021, Comrade Ben Nnabue, the National President of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), once called out Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika for running a “one-man-show’’, saying his “dictatorship is the singular bane of the sector”. Maybe not the price of the trucks but getting critical advice that’s a precursor to making good decisions. This N12 billion-for-10-trucks surely has due diligence challenge

Let me stop here to pray before one breaches his critical thinking ability. Unarguably, the fiscal indicators are flashing red lights all over the place, if we can stop awhile to do a little inquisition of the legacy that’s being written with barefaced rubbing it in on Nigerians without a hoot. That’s how I see it.

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