BusinessDay

Only 1000 pounds paid daily for parking presidential jet – Presidency

Nigeria’s government may have spent over 20million naira as parking fee for the Presidential Aircraft, NAF 001, parked at a London airport for the last 50 days, as President Muhammadu Buhari recuperates.

 

The Presidency gave the hint on Thursday while debunking claims that Nigeria was billed 4000 pounds everyday as parking fees to the Presidential aircraft. Presidential media aide Garba Shehu said a waiver had been negotiated to 1,000pounds per day.

 

At 1,000pounds per day Nigeria will be obligated to pay a total of 54,000 pounds as at Thursday an equivalent of N21,870 million naira for the Boeing 738 BBJ, NAF 001 which is parked at the London Stansted airport.

 

“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” he said in a statement released in Abuja .

 

Besides looking at the how much of tax payers money will be going into the payment for the parking fees of the aircraft, Shehu said the Presidential aircraft is meant to be at the President’s service wherever he is.

 

President Buhari who left the shores of the country on the 7th of May for a medical vacation, has spent 54 days in London and counting.

 

Shehu said the Presidency had become constrained to decry the criticisms, mostly on social media, which had harped on the retention of the Presidential Aircraft, NAF 001 in London. According the reports were mostly informed by lack of understanding of protocol around foreign trips by Heads of State all over the world.

 

Stating that the President was not the first to have the aircraft at his disposal,the presidential media aide said Nigerians should consider the administration’s effort at saving the country trillions of naira and give them a chance .

 

“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.

 

“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” the statement read in part.

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