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Presidential aircraft NAF 001 in London incurs £1,000 parking fee daily, Govt Confirms

The Presidency on Thursday confirmed the presence of presidential aircraft NAF 001 in London against public outcry over its cost in the offshore gateway.

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But the presidency stated that the aircraft’s presence in London was informed by long standing protocol lack surrounding foreign trips by Heads of State all over the world. Garba Shehu, presidency’s spokesman regretted that most members of the public are not aware of the practice.

“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,” Shehu said.

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President Mohammadu Buhari has been out of the country for about 57 days and still counting. There had been public outcry as to how much it costs the country to keep the presidential aircraft NAF 001 on foreign soil.

There had been different estimations on the cost of maintaining presidential aircraft NAF 001 in London, with most people putting it at £4, 000 per day. But the presidency insists that the figure is outrageous, and no where near the true cost.

According to him, 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,” stated Shehu.

“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,” the presidential spokesman said.

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