As demonstrations at the Nigerian Mission House in London persist, the Presidency is considering extending President Muhammadu Buhari’s stay in the United Kingdom, where he has been since March 30 for a routine medical check-up.
While Buhari failed to hand over to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SaharaReporters has learned that the Vice President has been told to serve in an acting capacity while the extension is being worked out.
SaharaReporters learnt that the planned return date might no longer be feasible – this is because the growing protest in London by #HarassBuhariOutofLondon and #RevolutionNow campaigners has reportedly affected the President from being taken to the places he wants to go in the city.
“Buhari did not hand over to the VP but he told him to keep acting. As it stands now, he will extend his stay in London from what we are hearing. The protest by #Revolutionnow has hampered his abilities to go around London. An extension is now in the offing,” a top official disclosed to this newspaper.
The president’s trips have attracted a lot of backlash on social media as the announcement of his ongoing trip came around the time the National Association of Resident Doctors announced that its members would be going on strike over government’s failure to meet its demands, including non-payment of allowances.
SaharaReporters in a report on April 1 had examined a timeline of the president’s trips abroad for medical treatment since he assumed office on May 29, 2015.
February 5, 2016 to February 10, 2016: Buhari took a six-day vacation in the United Kingdom, saying that his doctors lived in England.
June 6 to June 19, 2016: Buhari spent nearly two weeks in Britain where he had treatment for an ear infection and a holiday.
He reportedly flew to London on June 6 to see an ear, nose and throat specialist after two doctors in Nigeria recommended further evaluation “as a precaution,” his team said.
He extended his trip by three days to rest.
January 19 to March 10, 2017: Buhari went to London again on a medical vacation on January 19. He wrote the National Assembly on February 5 seeking extension of his London medical leave. The president didn’t return until March 10 but didn’t resume work immediately at Aso Villa. The Presidency said “he’s working from home.” Buhari spent a total of 51 days outside the country.
May 7, 2017: Buhari embarked on a trip to London for another medical vacation. He returned after 104 days on August 19 but could not resume work because rats had reportedly damaged furniture in his office.
The Presidency announced he would be working from home.
May 8, 2018: Buhari went to London for a four-day “medical review.” The president returned on May 11, 2018.
April 25 to May 5, 2019: The president again embarked on a 10-day private visit to the United Kingdom.
March 30: The president embarked on another trip for a routine medical check-up in London.
For the current trip, he has already spent ten days away, with a few more days to go.
In summary, Buhari spent 19 days in 2016, 155 days in 2017, and four days in 2018 getting treatment in the UK.
In 2019, the president embarked on a 10-day private trip to the UK suspected to be for medical reasons.
In 2020, the president could not make his trip due to the coronavirus pandemic which caused a halt in flight operations.