There was a mild drama at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja on Friday, as the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, ran to catch up with the President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari.
PUNCH Newspaper reports that both Buhari and the minister on Friday morning travelled out of the country to London on the same flight.
It was gathered that they both boarded a British Airways flight that left the airport at about 4.30am on its way to Heathrow Airport, London.
But while Buhari was going to board his flight, a mild drama took place at the airport.
Sources, who witnessed the drama, told PUNCH that the minister raced in a bid to catch up with Buhari, who had undergone airport screening before her.
It was learnt that the President-elect, who reportedly arrived the airport before the minister, was cleared first and he went straight into the aircraft.
It was further gathered that when Diezani arrived the airport and got news that Buhari had already boarded the flight, she hurriedly ran to ensure that she entered the plane.
In fact, sources at the airport stated that the petroleum minister left behind her aides while running to catch up with Buhari. A source on the ground, who witnessed the drama, said, “The man (Buhari) was at the front and had already passed the screening team. And immediately the woman (Diezani) came down, it was as if they told her that the President-elect was already inside the aircraft, so she started running. She even left her people behind so that she could board the flight along with the President-elect.
“This happened between 4am and 5am this (Friday) morning and the airline involved was British Airways. The flight was on its way from Abuja international airport to Heathrow Airport, London.”
An online medium, Sahara Reporters, reported on Friday that efforts of the minister, during the six-hour flight, to speak with Buhari failed.
According to the report, the President-elect only greeted Alison-Madueke during the boarding process.
It stated that the minister allegedly tried many times to stir a conversation with Buhari, but the latter shunned her.
The flight was reported to have arrived at Heathrow in London at 2:15pm, but the passengers disembarked at 2:45pm. The Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, refused to comment on the issues when contacted.Calls to the mobile phone of its spokesperson, Mr. Kingsley Agha, were ignored while a text message to him was not replied.
He was asked to explain why the minister travelled and her action at the airport.
But the media team of the President-elect issued a statement saying his visit to Britain was private.
In a statement signed by the head of Buhari’s media team, Malam Garba Shehu, this was the first of such visit outside the country since winning the March 28th presidential election.
The statement, which was issued in Abuja on Friday, partly read, “General Muhammadu Buhari will use the opportunity of the visit to take a much-deserved rest ahead of his inauguration on May 29.
“He is expected back in the country a few days before the inauguration, refreshed and ready to hit the ground running once he is sworn into office.”