The Presidency has dismissed claims that the Nigerian government has spent over N80 million on the Presidential Aircraft used to fly President Muhammadu Buhari to London on May 7, 2017.
In a statement on Thursday, June 29, 2017, Buhari’s spokesman, Garba Shehu noted that the aircraft which was at the service of the President only cost £1,000 per day.
Shehu averred that the aircraft was on standby for the purpose of immediate return or possible evacuation of the President.
He stated that decision to leave the aircraft in London was in line with protocol, national security and prestige.
He who noted that other world leaders enjoy such privilege adding that in the past some leaders have travelled with three Nigerian aircrafts per time.
“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,” Shehu said.
“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,” he added.
Meanwhile, Governor Ayo Fayose has threatened to expose President Buhari.
Fayose also alleged that the President has been on a life support machine since June 6, 2017.