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Nigerian president returns to the UK for further medical checks


Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari flew out of the country on Sunday evening to the United Kingdom (UK) to seek further medical checkups, a senior spokesperson confirmed.

According to a statement signed by Femi Adesina, the length of Buhari’s stay abroad will be based on advice by his doctors.

“The length of the President’s stay in London will be determined by the doctors. Government will continue to function normally under the able leadership of the Vice President,” the statement read.

PMB travels tonight for medical follow-up. Length of stay to be determined by London doctors.Govt to function normally under VP.

— Femi Adesina (@FemAdesina) May 7, 2017

Buhari was scheduled to leave in the morning but extended his departure in order to meet the Chibok Girls who were released on Saturday evening by the Boko Haram group after three years in captivity.

The 74-year-old leader returned to Nigeria in March after receiving medical treatment in Britain. The Presidency has refused to disclose details of his medical condition.

The president had also missed three consecutive cabinet meetings deepening fears about his capacity to rule Africa’s most populous country.

“Government will continue to function normally under the able leadership of the vice president,” the statement said, adding that there was no cause for worry.

Buhari on his last return admitted to the media that he had never been so sick in his life and hinted that he needed to rest and if need be return to the UK for further check-ups.

He has subsequently notified both chambers of parliament (the House of Representatives and the Senate) of his trip, which will put VP Yemi Osinbajo formally in charge.

Buhari shared photos of him meeting with leaders of the parliament, his Vice and governor of Zamfara State before his departure.

I received Vice President ProfOsinbajo, SP bukolasaraki, Speaker YakubDogara at home this evening, ahead of my Trip tonight. pic.twitter.com/2YXTuAdlgD

— Muhammadu Buhari (MBuhari) May 7, 2017

Osinbajo, a lawyer who is seen as more business-friendly than Buhari, has played an active role in driving policy changes, chairing cabinet meetings during the president’s medical leave.

Officials have sought to avoid a scenario seen in 2010 when political infighting broke out when then-President Umaru Yar’Adua was sick for months.

Osinbajo was already given full powers to act during Buhari’s previous absence, in contrast to his predecessor Goodluck Jonathan who only took over after Yar’Adua’s death in 2010 ended a power vacuum.

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