The presidency, yesterday, attributed President Muhammadu Buhari’s brief stopover in London, United Kingdom (UK) after an official engagement with President Donal Trump of the United States of America at the White House to technical issues. Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in a statement, said President Buhari was currently using a small aircraft, which would not be able to fly direct from the United States to Nigeria, a journey of about 12 hours.
Garba said the President’s big jet, Nigerian Air Force 001, was presently undergoing repairs. Media report indicated that the President’s official aircraft, Eagle One, left Joint Base Andrews military airfield in Washington on Tuesday morning and arrived in London at 9:42 p.m.
The President arrived in Washington on April 29 and had a series of bilateral meetings with President Donald Trump, including a working lunch and a joint press conference.
According to Garba: “It has been taken for major repairs.
So, the President is using a small plane and there is a limit to the distance the small plane can cover. “So, the technical stopover I talked about is that the journey from US to Abuja is broken into two.
Technical stopover is that the plane stops at a point, refuel, do some checks and then proceed on the journey. “This is very normal. There is nothing unusual about it. In any case, they are already on their way back home,” the media aide said. Garba explained further, “It is a routine thing.
The plane can do Abuja- Washington, that’s about 12 hours and the maximum the plane can fly is 12 hours, 40 minutes. But you don’t need to push it to the edge.” President Buhari, as at press time, was being expected back to the presidential villa after the working visit. Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said the presidency should come out clean and tell Nigerians the reason Buhari stopped over in London.PDP wondered why President Buhari, who left the United States 48 hours ago, could embark on an unofficial visit to the United Kingdom for undisclosed reasons and without transmitting a letter to the National Assembly.
“This is impunity and another constitutional breach,” the party said in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan. It added that Nigerians were worried about the signal being sent out by this penchant for secret itinerary of the president, particularly, given the poor reputation and governance transparency issues confronting the nation under his administration.
The party noted that the presidency should understand that President Buhari was not a private citizen and, as long as his upkeep and his itinerary is sourced from the hardearned resources, there must be full disclosure, as citizens deserve to know the purpose of the visit and the cost to our nation. “President Buhari had, on Tuesday, left the United States, where he had an embarrassing and fruitless outing and instead of returning to the country, detoured to the UK for another private visit without regard to full disclosure requirements of our constitution and laws,” the statement added. It stated that President Buhari’s foreign trips, which come at great costs, have not brought any gains to the country. “Instead, the president has continued to demarket our nation in the international arena.
The just concluded Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM)in London, where he cast aspersion at our enterprising youths and failed to return with any dividend, readily comes to mind. “Furthermore, President Buhari’s admission at the Voice of America (VOA) that he was unable to reach any agreement with President Donald Trump on any matter of interest to Nigeria, during his US visit and that he has no future development agenda to validate his 2019 re-election bid, confirm our position that the Buhari administration has nothing to offer Nigerians.”