spokesperson to President Muhammadu Buhari, Garba Shehu Defends parking of jet

The Presidency says it is constrained to decry criticisms, mostly on social media, on the retention in London of Nigeria’s Presidential Aircraft, NAF 001 as “mostly informed by lack of understanding of protocol around foreign trips by Heads of State all over the world”.
The spokesperson to President Muhammadu Buhari, Garba Shehu, said in a statement on Thursday that for reasons of protocol, national security, diplomacy and prestige, “no world leader who travels abroad and is left without plans for immediate return or possible evacuation”.
The statement said from an operational point of view, Nigeria’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 paid by Nigeria. The published amounts are totally untrue. Aircraft conveying heads of state 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, which is a quarter of the amount being peddled,” Mr. Shehu said.
He also said Mr. Buhari was not the first, and will not be the last, to have a presidential aircraft standing by for him.
“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.

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