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Buhari’s appearance at Aso Villa Mosque douses tension over his health status

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By Levinus Nwabughiogu

ABUJA-President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday prayed at the Aso presidential Villa, Mosque.

President Buhari at jumaát

His appearance at the mosque which came weeks after he had failed to appear in public is expected to douse tense about his whereabouts.

Before now, the president had for three consecutive times missed the meeting of the Federal Executive Council, FEC.

In his stead, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo functioned.

Consequently, the development prompted fresh concerns over the state of health of the President who returned from London on March 10 after an extended medical vacation.

But amid the growing anxiety, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Public, Mallam Garba Shehu in a statement on April 27, said that the President was hale and hearty but was taking some rest at the residence.

He said: “The Presidency hereby assures the good people of Nigeria that, despite the insinuations of a number of media organisations, there is no need for apprehension over the health of our President, Muhammadu Buhari.

“President Buhari’s absence at the Federal Executive Council meeting of Wednesday, April 26, was a last minute decision; otherwise, the cabinet and the public might have been alerted in advance. As eager as he is to be up and about, the President’s doctors have advised on his taking things slowly, as he fully recovers from the long period of treatment in the United Kingdom some weeks ago.

“President Buhari himself, on his return to the country, made Nigerians aware of the state of his health while he was in London. Full recovery is sometimes a slow process, requiring periods of rest and relaxation, as the Minister for Information, Lai Mohammed, intimated in his press briefing after the FEC meeting on Wednesday.

“Despite his lack of visibility, Nigerians should rest assured that President Buhari has not abdicated his role as Commander-in-Chief of Nigeria. He receives daily briefings on the activities of government, and confers regularly with his Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo. His private residence, in which he has been spending the majority of his time recently, also has a fully equipped office.

“God is the giver of life and health. We are grateful that He has seen our President through the worst period of his convalescence in London. We are thankful that the President has passed a number of benchmarks already. We pray that God continues to see him through this period of recuperation.”

In the same vein, the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed on Wednesday told State House correspondents that the President who also recorded absent at last FEC meeting was still at home, resting.

Mohammed also dismissed reports that the President was being fed intravenously.

“You are also aware that the President was at his office yesterday, and he worked at his office yesterday. A few days before now, we came out to say he’s been asked to take some rest by his doctors, and he chose today to rest and not to attend the Federal Executive Council meeting.

“We want to take this opportunity to thank Nigerians who have expressed a lot of concerns and sympathy, and who have been praying for him. Like we’ve always said, Mr president will stick to his doctor’s advice so that he can recover much more quickly.

“We thank all of them for their concern. I think it shows how concerned Nigerians are about the health of the president. And all their suggestions are being taken on board.

“It is absolutely untrue that he is being fed. He was in the office yesterday as you all reported. And if the doctors said he should take a rest, I think you’ll recover faster when you rest when you ought to rest, rather than by forcing yourself to work when you are not fit to work.

“All he is doing is following the doctor’s advise. Mr president himself told the nation he has never been this sick and he is going to take it easy. He said it from day one when he came back from the UK.

“So, whatever is happening today is not any strange development. It is exactly what he said. That he’s been advised to take it easy by his doctors and that he will soon also go back for further treatment.

“So, I don’t think it’s anything that is out of the place from what he said. He has been quite transparent and upfront in the matter concerning his health”, he said.

Still in the week, the First Lady, Wife of the President, Aisha Buhari tweeted that her husband was not as sick as being perceived in some quarters.

This came on the heels of a meeting of former President Olusegun Obasanjo and former Heads of State, Generals Ibrahim Babangida and Abdulsalami Abubakar in Minna, Niger State.

Meanwhile, at a time no one had the inkling of his public appearance even after failing to worship at the Villa mosque for two times, the President attended the Jumaat prayer on Friday.

Dressed in a white flowing gown with a white cap to match, the President was seen waving and exchanging pleasantries with other worshipers.

Notable government officials who worshiped with him at the mosque were his Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, the National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Monguno and the Director-general of Department of State Services (DSS), Lawal Daura.

Others included the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, Acting Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu and the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Maikanti Baru.

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