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How the president returned to Nigeria

    When President Muhammadu Buhari’s plane touched ground at the Nigeria Air Force Base Flight Line at Mando, Kaduna, at exactly 7:47 am on…



When President Muhammadu Buhari’s plane touched ground at the Nigeria Air Force Base Flight Line at Mando, Kaduna, at exactly 7:47 am on Friday, it was obvious that not many were aware of the president’s schedule. Those awaiting his arrival were not sure of the time he was expected, and few were not even sure where the plane would land. Initially, both security personnel and newsmen were told that the president’s plane would land at the Kaduna International Airport, only for them to discover a different arrangement.

Kaduna State Government officials and other security chiefs in the state were at the flight line as early as 3:00 am to await the arrival, while some others went to the Kaduna International Airport for the same purpose. It was clear that not many were aware of the itinerary or were even sure that the president would arrive until the plane taxied to a halt on the tarmac.

By the time the door of the plane opened, the president kept many guessing for some time as he stayed on the plane for about eight minutes while only protocol and security officials alighted. It was not until 7:55 am that the front door of the plane opened and President Buhari alighted, smiling as he stepped down.

Governor of Kaduna State, Malam Nasir El-Rufai was not around to receive the president, so the deputy governor of Kaduna State, Yusuf Bala, and other top officials of the state government welcomed him. After shaking hands with the officials, for about a minute while exchanging pleasantries, the president boarded a small plane that was waiting, and took off to Abuja at about 7:56 am.

The president did not speak with journalists who had been waiting for him since the previous night.

It was however not until Thursday evening that indications emerged that President Muhammadu Buhari would be arriving in Kaduna the next day, causing an unusual movement of security personnel within the state capital. Presidential spokesman Femi Adesina later issued a statement that Buhari would be arriving Friday.

Our correspondent observed that security was beefed-up at the airport.

Both the President Buhari and Vice President Osinbajo had preferred to use the facility at the NAF Base, even though the Kaduna airport has been open for all international flights to Abuja to land, since Wednesday morning.

Osinbajo was in Kaduna Thursday morning where he met with the Prime Minister of Guinea Bissau before leaving for Sokoto on an official engagement

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