The Presidency on Thursday insisted that despite the rumour doing the
rounds on President Muhammadu Buhari 's state of health, the President
is not ill.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity , Mr .
Femi Adesina , who said this in an interview with CNBC Africa , which
was monitored in Abuja , said Buhari could not be compelled to speak
from the United Kingdom .
The Nigeria Labour Congress , however , said the President should
speak to Nigerians from the UK .
Adesina insisted that Buhari was only in London, UK , for vacation and
was not in any hospital .
He said, "The President is in London on vacation . He is not in any
hospital and he is not ill .
"When he was travelling last week , the statement we put out was that
he was going on vacation and during the vacation, he would do routine
check – up and nothing has changed from what we pushed out last week .
"If anybody has fed something else into the rumour mill , that is just
what it is – rumour . "
When asked if Buhari would be willing to talk to Nigerians from the UK
, Adesina said the decision could only be taken by the President
The presidential aide said any attempt to compel Buhari to do so would
amount to infringement on his rights .
"The fact that he is a President , he still has his rights .
Compelling him to come out and talk will be infringing on his rights .
The President will talk if he wishes to. If he doesn' t wish to,
nobody will compel him to talk .
"The truth is that the President is on vacation and he has given a
date on which he will return to work, '' Adesina said.
Also on Thursday, the Federal Government debunked the rumour doing the
rounds that governors met in Abuja on Thursday and deliberated on the
health of Buhari .
It said the report was false. It also added that the governors were
also not planning to send representatives to London to see the
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed , stated
this when he received members of the Presidential Initiative Committee
on the North -East, who visited him in Abuja .
Mohammed said there was no need for the alleged visit, stating that
the President was merely observing his leave as stated in the letter
sent to the Senate before leaving the country.
He called on Nigerians to stop wishing their leaders sickness and
death, saying there was nothing wrong with the President.
The minister added, "I would like to use this medium to refute the
claim in some quarters that governors would meet in Abuja today
(Thursday) and have discussion over the health of the President .
"Those peddling the rumour also claimed that the governors would send
emissaries to the President in London.
"The report is false because the governors are not going to meet and
will not send any emissary anywhere because the President is hale and
Mohammed appealed to Nigerians to stop preaching what he described as
hate and also stop wishing their leaders bad things.
He also urged those behind the rumour to stop it forthwith .
NLC asks Buhari to speak to Nigerians
Meanwhile, the NLC has called on the President to speak to Nigerians .
The NLC argued that it would be proper for the President to make a
public appearance to dispel rumours in the country about his health.
The General Secretary of the NLC, Dr. Peter Ozo – Eson , told one of
our correspondents on Thursday that the President should speak to
Nigerians since Nigerians were worried about his health.
He said the President should call the bluff of those peddling
orchestrated rumours by publicly addressing the citizenry .
Ozo- Eson said, " In the social media , stories circulate without
confirmation ; I think that the easiest way is to talk publicly to the
nation because the citizens are concerned about their leaders'
'If there are those who orchestrated rumours and they are not true ,
the easiest way is for him to reach out to Nigerians through a public
appearance and a statement .
"Nigerians have a right to be certain about the health situation of
their President and the people who orchestrate rumours and
unsubstantiated reports, one would wish for him to call their bluff by
publicly addressing the citizens . "
But the TUC said it would not be necessary for the President to
address Nigerians since he had not been away for long .
The President of the TUC , Mr . Bala Kaigama , stated that Buhari
demanded a rest and handed over government to the Vice – President .
According to him , Nigerians can talk about the President' s health if
he fails to return after the 10 – day period of rest he requested .
He said, "Why do we have to make noise about this ? He is coming back
; if he were to go and stay for a very long time , it is a different
thing . If we have patience , he will come back . We are just being
"This is somebody who demanded a rest and he has handed over the
government to the Vice – President. So our concern is how the VP is
handling it; but it his health that has become the issue of the
"But we should allow the old man to have his rest. It is normal for
somebody of that age to need rest from time to time. If he goes to
rest that does not mean that government will not work now . Let the
old man enjoy his rest.
"If he does not come back on the day he is supposed to come , that is
when can talk, but for now , let ' s allow him to have his rest, why
does he have to come and address us ? It doesn ' t make any sense . "
The Executive Secretary , Anti-corruption Network, Ebenezer Oyetakin,
faulted the call for Buhari to address the nation from the UK ,
describing it as mischief.
He said, "I do not subscribe to that . It smacks of mischief from such
people . We are Africans. We have cultural discipline on some issues .
"He has done the appropriate thing by handing over to the VP as Acting
President. Let us be patient and maintain a sense of decorum and
respect to the institution of governance. ''