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Presidency decries criticisms over retention of NAF 001 in London

The Presidency has decried criticisms in some quarters over the retention of Presidential Aircraft, NAF 001, in London.

Malam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, in a statement issued in Abuja on Thursday, said such criticisms were mostly informed by lack of understanding of protocol around foreign trips by Heads of State all over the world.

According to the presidential aide, for reasons of protocol, national security, diplomacy and prestige, there is no world leader who travels abroad and is left without plans for immediate return or possible evacuation.

He also dismissed as false and totally untrue the claims about outrageous fees allegedly being paid by Nigeria for the retention of the aircraft in London.

“From operational point of view, this country’s Armed Forces as represented by the Nigeria Air Force are not to abandon their Commander-In-Chief in whichever circumstance he is. This is a standard operating procedure.

“We have also read claims about outrageous fees allegedly being paid by Nigeria. The published amounts are totally untrue.

“Aircraft conveying heads of states all over the world usually enjoy waivers even where payments for parking are differentiated by aircraft categories.

“We have been assured that where the waiver is not granted, payment will not exceed 1,000 pounds, which is a quarter of the amount being peddled.’’

“For the avoidance of doubt, this President is not the first to have a presidential aircraft standing by for him, as he will certainly not be the last.

“All past heads of this country have had this privilege, and the part that surprises the most is that leaders who in the past travelled with three Nigerian aircraft did not suffer this trenchant criticism.’’

Shehu, therefore, appealed to Nigerians to ignore opposition campaign aimed at derailing the Buhari administration’s “big plans for the country’’.

“This is a government that is constructing the Second Niger Bridge, the Mambila Power Plant, the East-West and the North-South standard gauge railway lines.

“We are a government that has saved this country an annual loss of two trillion naira from fraudulent petroleum subsidy schemes by influential citizens and their children.’’

Shehu also disclosed that the government had successfully purged the public service of about 50,000 ghost workers, adding “the Buhari administration certainly deserves a chance’’.

(Source: NAN)

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2 Comments

  1. Tai Mtn 29th June 2017 at 9:57 pm

    Good talk. Please get that damn plane back to Abuja. Protocol cannot be senseless. We are starving and you are talking of protocol. This is not the time for this type of protocol. What of estacode for the crew? Be specific. Is there a waiver for the parking charge and estacode for the crew? He has been evacuated from Nigeria and he will come back back when he tis well. Does your evacuation mean you are not especting him back alive? No sensible person will buy this your explanation

  2. ElderStatesMan 2nd July 2017 at 10:36 pm

    All Governments of Nigeria both past and present has been characterised with the more you look, the less you see. I support what the first commentator was saying: people are hungry, you are here talking of protocols. This whole hardship was not promised to us when the President was sworn in.

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