President Buhari’s numerous trips to foreign countries since he was inaugurated into office has been making headlines in the past weeks. But nobody has thought about how much those trips have cost tax payers. Nigerians have been open about the several trips and had spoken so much against them given that the country is still striving to survive the present economic challenges it is facing and should not be involved in spending on international trips. Not only have Nigerians been wondering why he has chosen trips over tackling internal problems, they have also wondered when he will come back to Nigeria again.
According to an investigation done by Sahara reporters, the following is the cost of the president’s numerous trips abroad:
A two-day trip is estimated to cost between $350K and $500K. For instance, during the last trip to Tehran, Iran, the travel expenses for accompanying presidency officials was $105K. Over and above that, transportation budgets stood at $45K, accommodation $200K, allowance $10K, contingency $20K, with media coverage costs at $10K.
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More on all the expenses on trips made by the president are outlined below;
The travel expenses for accompanying presidency officials for the ongoing trip to France is estimated to be at $130K, transportation $55K, accommodation $270K, honorarium $10K, contingency $20K and media coverage $10K. The total cost for the visit is $495K. Note that the sums for honorarium ($10K), contingency ($20K) and media coverage ($10K) are fixed for all trips.
Upon his arrival from Paris, the president is set to visit South Africa. The cost of this trip is set at $405K. The expenses are distributed as follows: travel expenses for accompanying presidency officials $110K, transportation $35K, accommodation $220K, honorarium $10K, contingency $20K, and media coverage $10K.
The State House chief of protocol receives honorarium and contingency while Femi Adesina, the presidential media aide, receives $10K for “media coverage”.
The costs mentioned above cover only personnel from Aso Rock villa, aides, protocol officers, members of the press, security personnel, a cook, a luggage officer and a steward.
Also, a source from the Presidential Air Fleet disclosed that there is a different budget set for financing all flight paraphernalia such as; payments of the presidential air fleet commander, pilot and air stewards, as well as fueling the airplanes.
Information on what the president earns per night is being treated as confidential. However, the minister of foreign affairs and five members of his team who usually accompany the Nigerian president are paid from the ministry’s budget and as such, they are no included in the cost.
President Buhari has faced a number of criticisms for not paying attention to governing Nigeria, having only visited four Nigerian states since assuming office. His scheduled and long-awaited visit to Lagos three days ago to launch the anti-crime helicopters, boats and vehicles did not occur but led to a traffic meltdown.
However, the presidential media aide, Garba Shehu, defends President Buhari by stating that his trips should not be likened to a vacation abroad. In conjunction, he iterates that president Buhari has cut the number of accompanying delegates down to the barest minimum.
President Buhari has so far visited Germany, South Africa, the USA, Niger, Tchad, Cameroon, Benin, Ghana, South Africa, India, Iran, Malta, and is currently in France.