The federal government has said that President Muhammadu Buhari will continue to rest until he has fully recovered and is fit to work based on his doctor’s advice.
Making this remark on Wednesday while briefing journalists at the end of the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr. Lai Mohammed, said Buhari was not in the meeting because he chose to rest.
He dismissed inquiries by State House correspondents seeking to know if the president’s health had deteriorated to the extent that he was being fed.
Mohammed whose response to the question was “bunkum”, argued that it was better for the president to rest in compliance with his doctor’s advice, insisting that it was in his interest to get adequate rest until he’s fit to work instead of forcing himself to work.
“The answer to your first question is absolute bunkum. It is absolutely untrue that he is being fed. He was in the office yesterday as you all reported.
“And if the doctors say he should take a rest, because they think he’ll recover faster, then he ought to rest rather than forcing himself to work when he is not fit to work.
“All he’s doing is following the doctor’s advice. Mr. President himself told the nation he had never been this sick and he is going to take it easy. He said it from day one when he came back from the United Kingdom.
“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,” Mohammed said.
Buhari was absent from the weekly cabinet meeting on Wednesday for the record third time, thus raising speculations that his health might have deteriorated.
The president was first absent from the weekly meeting on April 12, with Mohammed saying that he had deliberately stayed away from the meeting because the agenda was light, hence his decision to yield the floor to his deputy, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, to preside over the day’s meeting.
But the following week, the meeting was completely canceled. This time, the excuse given was that the Easter break had prevented the staff of the council chamber secretariat from circulating memos for the meeting to ministers.
Again, the president did not show up on April 26, during which Mohammed said Buhari had asked the vice-president to preside over the meeting having informed the council that he would be attending to matters of state from home.
Mohammed on Wednesday also thanked Nigerians whom he said had been concerned and sympathetic about Buhari’s health.
“We want to take this opportunity to thank Nigerians who have expressed a lot of concern 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 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 onboard,” he added.
Mohammed, however, said the president’s health notwithstanding, the government would mark its second year in office on May 29, claiming that since inception, the government has saved $100 million in foreign exchange and another N60 billion in budgetary provisions.
He also submitted that in the last two years, the government had addressed fundamental issues on the economy, fought insecurity and corruption and placed an emphasis on infrastructure development.
“Not that alone, we have been able to revive 11 food blending plants. Before now, only five blending plants were working at 10 percent capacity, and we saved about $100 million in foreign exchange and about N60 billion in budgetary provisions.
“In the area of power, we have signed 13 power purchase agreements with 13 solar companies. And that is going to add at least more electricity to the national grid, among others.
“So, we have a good story to tell Nigerians and I think that is what they want to hear,” Mohammed said.