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.
The presidential aircraft conveying the president and some aides landed at the Presidential Wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja at about 4.45 p.m.
Those at the airport to welcome the president included the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Malam Muhammed Bello, and the National Security Adviser to the President, retired Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno.
Others were the service chiefs, acting Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba, the Director-General, National Intelligence Agency, Ahmed Rufa’i, the Director-General of the Department of State Services, Yusuf Bichi, and other presidential aides.
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 when he featured as a guest on Channels Television’s Politics Today.
Buhari’s departure was also widely criticised by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which described the move as an indictment of 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 is also accused the Buhari government of wasting taxpayers’ money.
President Buhari had embarked on several medical trips between 2015 and 2019. During one of his trips in 2017, he stayed 103 days in London with the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, acting on his behalf.