Buhari’s NAF 001 Boeing 737 jet arrived at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport at 5:08 pm after taking a longer flight path to avoid the Sudanese airspace due to ongoing conflict between the military and the members of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces.
He arrived in Abuja “after nearly seven hours for a four to five-hour Jeddah-Abuja flight due to the ongoing situation in Sudan that warrants the avoidance of the country’s entire airspace by air traffic,” a statement by the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, read Wednesday evening.
Shehu said, “The rerouted aircraft flew from Jeddah, in Saudi Arabia through Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, DRC, Central African Republic, Cameroon and eventually Nigeria.”
Upon arrival, the President was received at the airport by the Chief of Staff, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Danmallam Mohammed, representing the Inspector-General of Police and the Director-General, Department of State Services Yusuf Bichi.
Buhari, who had been in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, for an eight-day official trip, also performed Umrah (Lesser Hajj) and met with his counterpart from the Republic of Chad, Mahamat Deby-Itno, where he condemned the Sudan conflict, calling for a cease-fire.
He also visited the Prophet’s Holy Mosque and toured the International Fair and Museum of the Prophet’s Biography in Madinah where he sued for a balanced understanding of Islam in a way that corrects misperceptions of the millennia-old religion.