Buhari is “well, hale and hearty,” Nigerian govt insists

Audu Ogbeh, Babatunde Fashola, Lai Mohammed and Okechukwu Enelamah briefing the media after the Federal Executive Council meeting today

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has reiterated the federal government’s stance that President Muhammadu Buhari is not sick, despite seeking an extended medical vacation.

Mr. Mohammed stated this while briefing journalists at the end of the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting.

He said the fact that all the ministers were working optimally was an indication that the president was “hale and hearty.”

“Do you think we will be consulting our business like this if Mr. President is ill?” the minister asked rhetorically.

“He (pointing to Minister of Power, Babatunde Fashola) was in Anambra last week, I was in Kwara yesterday, all our ministers are busy doing their work. Mr. President is well and is absolutely not in danger,” he said.

“I can say without any hesitation that Mr. President is well, is hale and hearty. No question about that.”

Mr. Mohammed’s statement comes two days after a similar statement by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo who said he spoke to the president on phone.

Contrary to the federal government’s stance, other public officials like the Adamawa State Governor, Jibrilla Bindow, have asked Nigerians to pray for a sick Mr. Buhari.

President Buhari had on Sunday written to the Senate to extend his 10-day medical vacation. The Senate later confirmed to reporters the extension was indefinite as the president did not indicate his return date.

The information minister also reacted to publications recalling his position when the late President Umaru Yar’Adua was ill.

Late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua

Mr. Mohammed, who was the spokesperson of the defunct opposition party, Action Congress, at the time, was quoted to have said the handlers of the president should be giving Nigerians hourly update on his health status.

He said asking for the same update now is simply like “comparing oranges with apples”.

He said unlike late Mr. Yar’Adua, Mr. Buhari is not in admission or in danger; adding “there is no need to give anyone, any bulletin about his health.

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