Presidential aide, Garba Shehu, said President Muhammadu Buhari was only throwing banter when he made the comment about relocating to the Niger Republic.
Buhari recently said that the Niger Republic is a safe haven for him if Nigerians give him problems after he takes office next week.
The president’s comments drew widespread criticism from Nigerians who question the president’s loyalty to the country.
Buhari’s spokesman, however, dismissed the criticism during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Thursday, noting that Nigerians should get used to the president’s sense of humour.
Shehu said Buhari’s comment was only banter and a way of easing tension around himself.
He stated that after eight years, Nigerians should have been used to the president’s sense of humour.
Shehu noted that Buhari’s remark indicates a friendly relationship with neighbouring countries rather than a lack of loyalty to Nigeria.
According to him, President Buhari has done well for Nigeria and deserves to rest after eight years as the country’s leader.
“If you are a Nigerien, you would probably feel good about seeing a president that cares,” he added.
Speaking on Nigeria Air, Shehu stated that praised the Minister of Aviation Hadi Sirika for his doggedness in ensuring the airline becomes a reality, adding that many Nigerians will benefit from the project.
He also noted that Nigeria Air will be appreciated by Nigerians even though the project has been impeded by several bottlenecks.
“The minister has been bashed unfairly all over the place. He has been doing this, all of the commitment to put this airline in place but simply obstacles have been put on his part every inch of the way, until just a week or two ago when the thing was cleared for its resumption,” he stated.