The Presidency has given further clarification on the circumstances of bad weather, which forced the cancellation of the planned visit to Zamfara State on Thursday by President Muhammadu Buhari, in spite of the great interest generated nationwide on the visit.
Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, in a statement on Sunday, said as briefly explained by the President in a special broadcast to the people of the state, the sudden deterioration of the weather was the sole and only reason for the cancellation of the visit.
According to him, it is not unusual for flights to get cancelled when there is bad weather, whether this is arising from wind or rainstorm, fog or haze as was the case on Thursday over much of the northern towns including Gusau, capital of Zamfara State.
He noted that many of these cities are known to suffer from low visibility during the harmattan season, hence the planned flight to Gusau was not possible on the said date.
He said, “A kilometre of visibility is usually a standard landing minimum requirement but in the case of Gusau on the day in question, this minimum requirement of 1,000 meter was down, fluctuating between 300-400 meters. Clearly, this was unsafe in the absence of precise instrument approaches that provide guidance for the pilots. The flights into Gusau were, in view of this, cancelled.
“Criticism of the President, in particular the one by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, for not proceeding with the journey, Sokoto-Gusau by road, a distance of about 200 kilometres shows, either a lack of understanding of presidential movements especially for a party that held that office for sixteen years, or an act that smacks of mischief. Whatever be the case, there must be a limit to trivialisation.
“All over the world, Commanders-in-Chief, serving or even those that have left office cannot hop into a car and go anywhere they want, at any time of the day. In the United States for instance, a law going as far back as 1958 prevents past Presidents from traveling on public roads without assured security (how much more of serving Presidents).
“When roads are closed for presidential movements here and elsewhere, consideration is also given to the safety of other road users, not just that of the President or even Governor.
“The statement on the issue by the PDP attacking the President for not making it to Gusau without this being planned ahead of the journey is shameful and disgraceful for a party that held the presidency of the country in the past. What is their own record?
“It is sad for the country that the bankruptcy of issues has forced the PDP, so-called leading opposition party, to hang on to life by only telling lies. And their caravan of falsehood has moved even more speedily following the inauguration of their not-so-new national executive at the end of last year,” Shehu stated.
He further explained that it was equally important that local political actors who have seized upon the cancellation of the visit to describe it as a victory for this or that faction of the party, accompanied by songs, lyrics and videos to know that their joy is a short-lived one.
“As he promised in that broadcast, the visit to Gusau by the President is only a matter of time.
“Given the right conditions of the weather and all other things, he will return, and in time to accomplish his mission,” he added.
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