President Muhammadu Buhari has arrived the country via the Nnamdi Azikiwe international airport from the United Kingdom where he went on medical vacation for two weeks.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has returned to Abuja this afternoon, after a private trip to London, the United Kingdom,” the Personal Assistant to the President, Bashir Ahmad tweeted.
Before his departure, the presidency had explained that Buhari’s travel to the UK was not on an emergency case and that the Nigerian leader was not sick, dousing insinuations from critics who raised the alarm that the 78-year-old was not feeling well.
“It is a routine medical check-up; the President has undertaken this with a set of doctors that he has retained over many years,” said Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity.
He also explained that Buhari did not transmit power to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, noting that the President will not be away for so long to contravene the law.
“The requirement of the law is that the President is going to be absent in the country for 21 days and more, then that transmission is warranted. In this particular instance, it is not warranted,” the presidential aide said.
Buhari’s departure was also widely criticised by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which described the move as an indictment on his government.
“It is indeed worrisome that under President Buhari, even the hitherto highly rated State House Clinic, has become so moribund that it cannot provide a simple medical checkup service for Mr. President,” the PDP said in a statement in which it also accused the Buhari government of wasting taxpayers’ money.
Buhari, 78, has made repeated trips to London since he came to office in 2015 and was re-elected in 2019, though the nature of his ailment has never been made public.
When he left at the end of last month, the presidency said the former army general would be away for two weeks.
Buhari’s frequent visits for medical treatment have sparked criticism about the government’s transparency over his illness.
His health became a subject of debate before the last election when the opposition claimed he was not physically fit to govern — but Buhari won a second term.
The latest London trip came just before doctors in Nigerian government hospitals went on strike over pay and inadequate facilities.