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HomeNaija NewsFaulty aircraft forces Shettima to abort US trip mid air

Faulty aircraft forces Shettima to abort US trip mid air

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Tuggar, will now represent President Bola Tinubu at the 2024 US-Africa Business Summit in Dallas, Texas, not Vice President Kashim Shettima, as announced earlier.

“Vice President Kashim Shettima who was originally scheduled to represent the President was unable to make the trip following a technical fault with his aircraft, forcing him to make a detour on the advice of the Presidential Air Fleet,” the Presidency revealed in a statement signed Monday evening by the Shettima’s spokesperson, Mr. Stanley Nkwocha.

The statement is titled ‘Minister of Foreign Affairs To Now Represent President Tinubu at US-Africa Summit.’

Although details of the particular aircraft the VP boarded was not stated, there are indications that the plane is the Gulfstream V aircraft often used by the Vice President.

Shettima’s predecessor, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, had used the same aircraft while in office (2015 – 2023).

Since the Buhari years, the Presidency had maintained 10 aircraft. They include Boeing Business Jet (Boeing 737-800 or NAF 001) which is reportedly under maintenance, one Gulfstream 550, one Gulfstream V (Gulfstream 500), two Falcons 7X, one Hawker Sidley 4000, two AgustaWestland AW 139 helicopters and two AgustaWestland AW 101 helicopters.

While the statement did not disclose the nature of the fault, Nkwocha said the Vice President has since returned to Abuja and “will carry on with other national duties.”

The high-profile summit, taking place at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, will bring together political and business leaders from across Africa, the United States, and other regions.

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Hosted by the Corporate Council on Africa, it features high-level dialogues, networking sessions and plenaries.

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African leaders expected at the summit are Presidents Joseph Boakai of Liberia; Lazarus Chakwera of Malawi; Joao Lourenço Angola; Mokgweetsi E. K. Masisi of Republic of Botswana; José Maria Neves of Cabo Verde and the Deputy Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Lesotho, Nthomeng Majara.

The US-Africa Business Summit aims to foster economic cooperation and explore investment opportunities between the United States and African countries.

Besides the summit plenary, the Foreign Minister is expected to speak at the Roundtable on African Infrastructure Investment with a focus on impact and returns.

He is also scheduled to speak on a high-level panel on agribusiness, focusing on transiting “from food insecurity to thriving agribusinesses”.

Additionally, Tuggar will speak at a plenary session on Navigating Africa’s Energy Future as well as chair a session dedicated to promoting the ‘invest in Nigeria’ initiative.

He is also expected to attend other meetings and engagements on the sideline of the summit, the statement read.

Tuggar is expected back in the country at the end of his engagements in the US.

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