‘President Muhammadu Buhari returns today’
• SGF denies saying Christians wish president dead
Barring any last-minute changes, President\ Muhammadu Buhari is expected to return to the country today, the Presidency has said. Buhari left the country on January 19, for medical vacation for which he had sought extension twice through a letter to the National Assembly based on doctors’ recommendation for more rest.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, yesterday, the presidency expressed appreciation to Nigerians from across the country and beyond for their prayers and their best wishes while the president was away.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Rev. Justin Welby, yesterday visited Buhari in London, United Kingdom. The meeting took place in Abuja House. Buhari posted pictures of himself and his guest on his Twitter handle, @MBuhari on Thursday afternoon.
The President wrote, “Very pleased to welcome the Most Revd and Rt Hon @JustinWelby, Archbishop of Canterbury, to Abuja House this afternoon.”
Buhari was dressed in a golden yellow prayer gown with white skull cap while Welby was in black suit with clerical shirt and collar.
In a related development, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) has denied media reports that he said Nigeria Christians are wishing Buhari dead.
Some sections of the media had reported earlier in the week that SGF Babachir Lawal, during a prayer meeting in Israel for Nigeria, had criticised Christians for wanting Buhari dead.
A statement in Abuja yesterday by the Director Press in the Office of the SGF, Bolaji Adebiyi said the full text of the sermon could be found on the Facebook page of the SGF, where he called on Nigerians, irrespective of their religious affiliations to love one another, celebrate achievements of our leaders and desist from destroying our heroes.
“At no time, during the sermon, did the SGF castigate Christians in the negative manner reported in the story,” Adebiyi said.Meanwhile, the absence of the ailing president is generating mixed reactions in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
Ehiozuwa Johnson Agbonayinma, representing Egor/Ikpoba-okha in the House of Representatives, told The Guardian in Abuja that there is no need for Nigerians to be worried about the absence of the President.
Agbonayinma said that as a human being, the president can take ill and all that is expected from Nigerians are prayers for him to recover and return to his duties.
Ahmed Abubakar, a law student at the Kogi State University said there’s nothing to be worried about over his absence.However, Florence Idoga, a prison warder, expressed frustration over the lingering issue. According to her, the suspense is too much.
A petty trader, Mrs. Victoria Osiwere said: “Everyday, they keep postponing the date of the president’s arrival. What are they really hiding from us? We want to know the true state of health of our president.”
Meanwhile, there is tension in Anambra State over the planned pro-Buhari rally billed to hold in Awka, today with the branch of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) distancing itself from the event.
The State Secretary of APGA, Tony Ifeanya, yesterday condemned reports linking the party to the rally, warning that APGA has no hand and would not have any hand in such event.