Isa Yuguda reveals how minister chased Richard Branson out of

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A former aviation minister, Isa Yuguda, has disclosed that Richard Branson, the founder of British multinational venture capital conglomerate, Virgin Group, was chased out of Nigeria over disagreement on the Virgin Nigeria deal.

Yuguda, who was the minister of aviation under former President Olusegun Obasanjo, said Virgin Nigeria was launched in 2004 after the government partnered with Branson to replace the then-defunct Nigeria Airways.

However, a new minister was appointed and he frowned at the deal, leading to Branson and his company exiting the Nigerian market in 2009 before the airline stopped operation in 2012.

Note that Branson’s company owns airlines in other countries; Virgin Australia, Virgin America, and Virgin India, amongst others.

Following the disagreement between Branson and the Nigerian government, Yuguda, during an interview with Channels TV on Friday, said the billionaire went on CNN to describe Nigeria as the worse place to conduct business.

Yuguda said Branson’s statement was enough to discourage foreign investors from investing in Nigeria, “You want to join the league (and) we had the opportunity but, unfortunately, we blew it because, soon after I left office, another minister came and another one came, then another one came,” he said.

The ex-minister added: “And he (minister) decided that it’s not a good transaction for him, so he decided to advise the government that they should drive away Richard Branson from Nigeria.

“It was just a pity. Richard Branson was on CNN, saying, ‘Nigeria is the worst place you can do business.’ He’s advising no international community member to come and invest in Nigeria.

“Even the mere fact that Richard Branson was investing in Nigeria – he has Virgin Australia, Virgin America, Virgin India, and so many others, which are very successful airlines.”

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