President Muhammadu Buhari Friday in Abuja expressed gratitude to Nigerians for all the prayers and show of goodwill, pledging to rededicate himself to the service of the nation.
Addressing the country from the State House, shortly after arriving from London, President Buhari said he was fully committed to serving the nation and protecting the right of all Nigerians.
‘‘I am deeply grateful to all Nigerians, Muslims and Christians alike who have prayed and have continued to pray for my good health.
‘‘This is a testimony that in spite of the hardship being experienced, Nigerians support the government in its effort to tackle our country’s challenges,’’ the president said.
He said his health had improved significantly, following the medical attention he received during his vacation in London.
“The best way for me to repay you is to rededicate myself to serving you, protecting your interest and keeping your trust. I thank you very much.
“I am feeling much better now. There may, however, be need for further follow up within some weeks,’’ he stated.
In his remark, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said it was satisfying for Nigerians and the Federal Executive Council to receive the President back in the country “hale and hearty’’.
“It is a day of joy not only for us but for the whole country, Africa and the world. Your arrival has vindicated our position that you will return safely,’’ he said.
The vice president thanked the president for respecting the constitution and entrusting power to him before travelling, noting that it was a tough job “going around in borrowed robes”.
The Chairman of Nigeria’s Governors Forum, Abdulaziz Yari, the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, and the Chief of Defence Staff, Abayomi Gabriel Olonishakin, also made remarks to welcome the president.
President Buhari returned to Nigeria after 51 days of medical vacation in London, United Kingdom.
PREMIUM TIMES correspondent in Kaduna said a presidential jet, 5N-FGN, conveying the president landed at exactly 7:40 a.m. at the Nigerian Air Force Base in the city.
Mr. Buhari was dressed in a black caftan with a black cap to march, and was received by Kaduna officials, amidst tight security.
He was immediately taken into a waiting helicopter to Abuja.
“Only select journalists were allowed to take photos and record video of his landing and takeoff,” our reporter said.
Femi Adesina, the special adviser on media and publicity to the president, said Mr. Buhari’s plane landed in Kaduna well after 7.am today in Kaduna, debunking earlier reports that the president flew in at about 4.am.
Mr. Adesina had announced Thursday that Mr. Buhari would return to Nigeria Friday (today).
Mr. Buhari left Nigeria on 19 January 19 for a vacation in London and was scheduled to return to work on 6 February.
During his visit to UK, he also said he would conduct some medical checks.
However, a day to his resumption, he requested for an extension of his holiday, following the recommendation of his doctors that he wait for further tests and rest.
According to Mr. Adesina, President Buhari expressed appreciation to teeming Nigerians from across the country, and beyond, who had prayed fervently for him, and also sent him their good wishes.
While in London, the president received visitors at his base in the British capital, and made telephone calls to dignitaries in Nigeria.
There are widespread speculations in Nigeria that he is unwell but the presidency has repeatedly dismissed the insinuations.