Ibe Kachikwu, minister of state for petroleum resources, says the absence of ailing President Muhammadu Buhari has not made much difference because the president is working from London.
On May 7, 2017, President Muhammadu Buhari left Nigeria for London on an indefinite medical leave. He hasn’t been seen in public since that day.
Responding to a question on the state of health of the president, the minister said: “Yes, he is in London. He is undergoing hospital treatment… I don’t know the details of that and I obviously wouldn’t know. But let me say this, he returned from his first trip in London, even though the doctors advised him to have some rest.
“He’s back to London and he has continued some levels of meetings and has been able to play some roles. He has a very efficient vice-president who is sitting in for him in his absence. It really hasn’t made much of a difference.
“Well, we’ve heard rumours in Nigeria about sick presidents off and on, most of them sometimes not quite correct. Will he be able to lead Nigeria? I think looking at the sort of conversations I had with him when he came back, he was strong enough to do his work, struggled a bit in terms of trying to fully recover.
“Nobody plans on illness, it happens. He has an efficient number two man; the system works, that’s the whole essence of democracy. He’s on top of his abilities to be able to issue policies and to be able to approve what he needs to be approved.”
A former parliament member of the United Kingdom, Eric Joyce, announced on Twitter on May 19, 2017 that President Buhari had died and he sent condolences to the country’s first lady, Aisha Buhari. The Nigerian presidency has not reacted to this development.