President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, met behind closed doors with service chiefs, before his departure to London on a 10-day vacation.
Speaking to State House correspondents after the meeting, the Chief of Defence Staff, Gabriel Olonisakin, a general, said the service chiefs updated the president on the country’s military operations at home and abroad.
He said they specifically briefed him on the involvement of Nigerian troops in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Standby Force for the Gambian crisis.
“The meeting was to give Mr. President an update on our operations within and outside the country especially our involvement in the ECOWAS Standby Force that is being inducted into Senegal so that the mandate of Gambia’s President-Elect is respected and sworn in.’’
Mr. Olonishakin said the operational mandate of the Nigerian Army in the ECOWAS Standby Force was in line with the decision of the Heads of State and Government of the ECOWAS with regard to the mandate of Gambia’s President-elect, Adama Barrow.
He assured that the Nigerian Army would ensure that the decision of the people of the Gambia was respected.
Answering a question about his vacation, President Muhammadu Buhari said there was nothing new about it.
The president, who was about boarding the presidential jet en route London, reminded journalists that at about the same time in 2016, he had gone on holiday.
“What’s wrong with going on vacation? Didn’t I go last year at the same time?’’ he asked.
Femi Adesina, the president’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, also told the correspondents that the Mr. Buhari was going to rest.
“You know that God did work of creation for six days and on the seventh day he rested. So if God needed to rest how much more human being.
“So the president is just going to rest and the statement we have released is straight forward. He will go on this leave and during the leave he will do routine medical checkups.
“We need to show good will towards our leaders particularly President Muhammadu Buhari who is working to give Nigeria a new footing, a new orientation.
“Nothing absolutely to worry about but a lot of good will, a lot of prayers are necessary at all times,” he said.