By Johnbosco Agbakwuru and Dirisu Yakubu
ABUJA-The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has charged the Presidency to explain to Nigerians President Muhammadu Buhari’s alleged ‘technical stopover’ in London.
The party also accused the President of leaving the United States for United Kingdom (UK), without transmitting a letter to the National Assembly in compliance with constitutional provision.
In a statement by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, the party described the development as embarrassing.
“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.
“Nigerians are worried about the signal being sent out by this penchant for secret itinerary, particularly, given the poor reputation and governance transparency issues confronting our nation under the Buhari administration.
“The Presidency must understand that President Buhari is not a private citizen and as long as his upkeep and itinerary is sourced from our hard-earned resources, there must be full disclosure, as citizens deserve to know the purpose of the visit and the cost to our nation,” the statement read in part.
Reports had it that President Muhammadu Buhari made a stopover in the United Kingdom after his visit to the President of the United States of America, USA, at the instance of his technical crew, who decided to break the long US trip to refuel and do routine checks on the jet being used.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Malam Garba Shehu, in a text message to newsmen, Thursday, explained that Buhari’s technical crew decided to break the long US trip to refuel and do routine checks.
Shehu said: “The big jet is under repair. 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, refuels, 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.
“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 decries report on US trip by Nigerian media
Meanwhile, the Presidency has come hard on the Nigerian media berating the press for alleged misrepresentation of the issues raised during the encounter between President Buhari and the US President, Donald Trump.
President Trump, on Monday, read what could be described as a riot act to the Nigerian government, saying the continued killing of Christians in the country was unacceptable to the American government.
Christian Association of Nigerian, CAN, also called for the immediate resignation of President Buhari over his inability to tackle the ceaseless herdsmen killings and security challenges confronting the country.
The association had also appealed to the international community to intervene in the crisis to save the country from relapsing into a religious crisis, stressing that the attack on the Church in Benue was a jihad that should be stopped.
Pope Francis had earlier on Sunday decried the attack on a church in Nigeria.
But, Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, yesterday, accused the media of leaving out Muslims in their reportage of the one-on-one encounter between the two leaders.
His words: “It is important to explain the context of the remarks by President Trump where he was quoted as saying the US was concerned over the murder or killing, as he put it, of Christians.
“At the press conference, President Trump towards the end of his remarks, mentioned the protection of “innocent civilians of all faiths, including Muslims and Christians,’, which reporters left out.
“In his remarks, the US President neither chided nor talked down on President Buhari. Saying that we will do something about that,’ is a clear expression of willingness to support Nigeria to bring to an end the wanton killings.
“This is contrary to media reports, which jumped on the issue, conveying a wrong impression that President Trump was only concerned about the lives of Christians. He mentioned Muslim lives as well.
“It is also important that records be set straight to counter the mischief of opponents, some of whom have started rendering false narratives of a meeting to which they were neither invited nor in any way aware of its details.”