Saturday, May 28, 2022

Emirates: Buhari told me he’s ruling Nigeria as he did in 1984, Hadi Sirika says

• December 12, 2021
Muhammadu Buhari, Emirates and Hadi Sirika

Aviation minister Hadi Sirika has said President Muhammadu Buhari recently told him the ongoing retaliation against Emirates Airlines reflects some actions he took when he was Nigeria’s military dictator in the early to mid-1980s. 

Mr Sirika said this while addressing a group of northern Muslims in the wake of Nigeria’s ban on Emirates Airlines in purported retaliation over the Gulf country’s restriction of Air Peace’s flights to only one per week. 

But the UAE in a December 10 letter to Mr Sirika said it was only Sharjah authorities who restricted Air Peace’s flight slots and not the UAE as a whole.

In fact, the letter said Air Peace will be granted the remaining two slots out of the three it requested to fly into other UAE airports. Abu Dhabi and Dubai have international airports, but Air Peace only currently flies to Sharjah, which is a separate and independent emirate just northeast of Dubai, the UAE’s commercial capital. 

Mr Sirika in a WhatsApp group discussion with members of ‘Talban Daura’ said Mr Buhari told him about an action he took in exerting diplomatic pressure during his military junta days that was “very encouraging,” promising provide additional details of the conversation to the members at a later date. 

“President Buhari shared with me an action he took in 1984,” Mr Sirika said while concluding his address to ‘Talban Daura’ members. “It’s very encouraging.”

Mr Buhari has faced charges of being wired to his old ways of hasty and violent approach to issues due to his military background. The president promised during campaign in 2015 that he would behave differently as a democratically-elected leader.
Repression of journalists and rights advocate, mismanagement of the nation’s economic and abduction of critics were some of the actions that characterised Mr Buhari’s military regime of the ’80s. 

But critics said the president has continued to behave like a dictator. The country’s economy has been on a downward trend, with the WHO and other international bodies deeming the country the poverty and unemployment capital of the world as direct consequence of Mr Buhar’s policies. Human rights under Mr Buhari also continued to suffer; and a separatist figure Nnamdi Kanu was abducted earlier this year from Kenya and moved to Abuja where he remained in detention of regime enforces. 

Mr Buhari and his appointees and supporters, however, strongly reject claims that he has been dictatorial and repressive, arguing strongly that he had taken all measures to sustain the larger interest of the country rather than the cravings of corrupt politicians whom he dislodged to assume power in 2015. 

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