Posted by Boniface Okoro, Umuahia | 10 September 2012 | 38,633 times
Upwards of 123 private jets have been acquired this year alone by some rich Nigerians even as the vast majority of Nigerians wallow in poverty as the economy goes from bad to worse.
Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State made this shocking disclosure yesterday in his goodwill message during the opening ceremony of the Second Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) holding in Umuahia, Abia State capital, South East Nigeria.
Giving indices of corruption in Nigeria, Obi lamented that this is happening in a country where many go to bed hungry. The governor declared that those who bought the private jets owe the public an explanation as to the source of their wealth.
“This year alone, 123 private jets have been registered in this country. Who own them? These are people who are receiving (oil) subsidy. It is time to stop them,” Obi said.
News Express reports that Nigerians who own private jets include politicians, businessmen and pastors. Bishop David Oyedepo, Founding Bishop of Living Faith Church International a.k.a Winners Chapel, is known to have the most number of private jets in the country. His fourth private jet, a Gulfstream V, is worth $30m and he has announced plans to buy a bigger one. Governor Obi in his speech also revealed that Nigerians seeking medical attention in foreign lands and those sponsoring their wards abroad for schooling spend about $10 billion doing so in a year.
Remedy to this needless capital flight, he noted, lies in fixing and handing over schools and hospitals in the country to the missions with adequate support from governments at all levels.
His words: “We have schools in this country but nearly $6 billion is paid for education outside this country every year. Who are those paying it?
“In this country, we pay over $4 billion for hospitals in India every year. Who are those paying it. We can fix our hospitals, let’s put in money. Government cannot manage schools, government cannot manage hospitals. The ones we go to in India are not managed by government. Therefore, let’s give it those who can manage it and support them. The missions can manage schools, they can manage hospitals.
“The schools abroad that we take our children to are managed by missionaries; the hospitals we go abroad are managed by missionaries. Let the missionaries here manage our own so that if they fail, we hold them responsible. That is what we should all work for.”
Obi explained that domestic debts portends ill for the country. “What I want Nigerians to do is to resist the level of domestic debts that is being accumulated in this country by local, state and the federal governments,” he said, adding:
“Domestic debt is very dangerous because it is Nigeria, your pensions, your future that we are burning out. The consequence is that In future, if they (the governments borrowing the money) can’t redeem it, they devalue the currency and the naira will worth nothing. Let us know who is borrowing this money and what is it being borrowed for.
“We borrow money in this country for consumption and not for productivity and who are those consuming, the same people who you must today hold responsible.”
Citing the Middle East corruption and bad governance antidote, Obi said “People are blockading streets in the Middle East, let’s start doing it here. If anybody is not doing well, let’s block his house.”
The four-day conference, holding at the Bishop Nwedo Episcopal Centre, Mater Dei Cathedral, Umuahia, is being attended by Bishops from the 52 Ecclesiastical Provinces in Nigeria, government functionaries and the laity.
*Photo shows Bishop David Oyedepo, who owns the most number of private jets, relaxing inside one of them.
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