Buhari ‘calls’ Speaker Dogara

Speaker Yakubu Dogara

Speaker Yakubu Dogara said on Thursday that he had a telephone discussion with President Muhammadu Buhari, who he said called him Wednesday night.

@MBuhari called me yesterday evening. He talked about what the Executive/ Legislature must do to ensure food security for all Nigerians,” Mr. Dogara said.

Mr. Dogara’s spokesperson, Turaki Hassan, said in an emailed statement that the two leaders spoke on Wednesday at about 9 p.m.

The Speaker is the first public official outside of the State House to confirm hearing from Mr. Buhari, who has not been seen since departing the country nearly three weeks ago.

It followed several statements from top officials of the administration beginning with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

Amid speculations over the president’s health, Mr. Osinbajo said on Tuesday that the president was “hale and hearty” and that he spoke to him by phone.

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“Let me first say the president is hale and hearty,” Mr. Osinbajo told reporters in the State House. “I spoke to him just this afternoon and we had a fairly long conversation, he is in good shape and very chatty.”

The position was reiterated on Wednesday by the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed.

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

Mr. Buhari departed Nigeria on January 19 on the grounds that he was embarking on a 10-day leave, but has not been seen since then.

The concerns of Nigerians were further compounded when Mr. Buhari wrote to the National Assembly seeking extension of his leave.

But Mr. Dogara said it was the president who was actually worried about the plight of Nigerians.

“He said he was pained by the suffering endured by most Nigerians last year and he’s resolved not to let events of 2016 repeat themselves,” Mr. Dogara said in a follow up tweet at 2:08 p.m.

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