A report by Sahara Reporters indicates that President Muhammadu Buhari’s return to Nigeria was put off at the last minute on Sunday, March 5 late at night.
According to the report, the president’s doctors did not certify him healthy enough to return home despite strong pressure from members of his inner circle.
The report cited unnamed presidency sources saying the desperation to bring the president back was so much that his close associates sent to London on Friday, March 3 the biggest jet in the presidential fleet, a Boeing Business Jet 737, known as “Airforce 001.”
Their plan was to ferry him into Abuja before the closure of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport on Wednesday, March 9.
In that connection, the smaller presidential jet which initially flew President Buhari to the United Kingdom was returned to Abuja the same day while the bigger jet was sent to London with a fresh crew.
The return to Abuja last week of the president’s nephew, Mammam Daura, as well as one of his daughters, all heightened the political anxiety that President Buhari would return on Sunday evening.
But President Buhari’s doctors refused to give him the clean bill of health that would enable him to return.
Meanwhile, President Buhari has been making phone calls to local and world leaders while receiving treatment in London.
According to the report, this strategy is aimed at keeping politicians and the public believing that the president is fully recovered from his numerous ailments, but sources involved in Buhari’s treatment say he is far from recovered, and his return date, and therefore his return to work, remains unclear.
In an earlier report, SaharaReporters had revealed that President Buhari has prostate flares in addition to intestinal maladies that have seen him lose weight progressively and unable to eat well. Those issues are yet to be resolved.
President Buhari has been in London since January 19. The presidency had first announced that he was there for a 10-day leave. But he has since extended the leave on medical grounds.