LONDON – Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has died in a London Hospital where he was receiving medical care, the Nigerian Mission in UK has said.
According to the information released by the Nigerian Embassy, Buhari left the West African country for a vacation in the U.K in order to undergo medical checks.
One of the President’s aides who accompanied him to the U.K and spoke on condition of anonymity said the President has been battling an “unknown disease” for a while now.
Though the decision to receive medical care in a foreign land angered some of his countrymen, the Nigerian community in London have expressed deep shock for the President’s demise.
It is the second time in a year that Buhari has sought medical treatment outside Nigeria ; he also traveled to London in June 2016 and saw an ear, nose and throat specialist after contracting an ear infection.
Buhari, who was elected in March 2015 in Nigeria’s first democratic transfer of power, had previously promised to clamp down on so-called “health tourism”, where government officials travel abroad for treatment rather than patronizing Nigerian doctors.
In a speech in April 2016 to the Nigerian Medical Association, Buhari said the country lost around $1 billion to health tourism each year. The president added that he would discourage government officials from going elsewhere for treatment “especially when there is evidence of expertise in Nigeria.”
Buhari’s own decision to travel abroad for medical treatment irked some Nigerians, particularly in light of the generous allocation given to the state house clinic, which treats government officials, including the president, in the country’s 2016 budget.
The office of the President is yet to issue an official statement on the President’s demise.