STATE HOUSE PRESS STATEMENT NAF 001, PRESIDENTIAL AIRCRAFT IS AT THE SERVICE OF THE PRESIDENT – GARBA SHEHU

The Presidency is constrained to decry criticisms, mostly on social
media, on the retention in London of the Presidential Aircraft, NAF
001 as mostly informed by lack of understanding of protocol around
foreign trips by Heads of State all over the world.
It is important to state that 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.
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 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 been assured that where the waiver is not granted, payment will not
exceed £1,000, 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.
We appeal to Nigerians to ignore opposition campaign aimed at
derailing this 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, and rid the public service of
about 50,000 ghost workers.
The Buhari administration certainly deserves a chance.
GARBA SHEHU
Special Senior Assistant to the President
(Media & Publicity)
June 29, 2017
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