Whatever anxieties may have been raised over President Muhammadu Buhari’s health is appearing justified following his absence, again, from Wednesday’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting.
There were also official indications that he may begin to work from home.
In fact, according to government spokesman, Lai Mohammed, he sought permission to continue to rest while directing his deputy, Professor Yemi Osinbajo to preside.
Mohammed said the country’s helmsman was to work from home on Wednesday, just a walking distance from the office.
A story by the Punch newspaper last Sunday detailed anxieties over Buhari’s. A backlash from the story by the President’s Chief Security Officer, Mr. Bashir led to the expulsion of Punch correspondent, Mr. Olalekan Adetayo, from his beat in the seat of power.
Despite the position of presidential spokesmen, Messrs. Femi Adesina and Garba Shehu, that the move did not have Buhari’s backing, the expulsion has been sustained; while the Punch has demanded a public apology for the embarrassment to the reporter and the organisation.
Said Mohammed, “And he will be working from home. He has asked all his files to be taken to him in the house. He will be working from home today.”
The FEC meeting did not hold last week in what presidential spokesman, Shehu blamed on the secretariat staff.
Still on health, the Minister in charge, Professor Isaac Adewole, said government is sending Doctors, nurses, Pharmacists and other health personnel to the north western states of Sokoto and Zamfara states to deal with the meningitis outbreak which has claimed 813 lives.
Adewole said, “We want to do house to house searches so that we can bring those with meningitis out for treatment.
“We are sending teams to each local government. There will be a team of doctors, nurses, pharmacists and lab scientist and each team will be supported by the state government.
“The state governments have promised logistics and transport to move them round and bring the patients to health facilities.”
But regarding the President, Mohammed had said, “It is not unusual, even if Mr President is hale and hearty and everything is going on well, for the VP to come and preside over meetings of the Federal Executive Council.
“The fact that Mr President is not in the office does not mean that he is not working….so, the fact that you did not see him in the office does not mean that he is not working at all.
“Understandably, that has sparked a lot of controversies. I just want to make this clear, Mr President is in town. Mr president is attending to other issues. Mr president looked at the agenda, it was a very light agenda and decided that the Vice President should preside.
“It is not unusual for the kind of interest that is shown especially given the fact that Mr President was away for a while on medical treatment. We are not surprised that people will be wondering, is he ill again?”
FEC approvals, Wednesday include:
*N5billion variation in the N18.8 billion cost of construction of the headquarters of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) owing to fluctuations in foreign exchange.
* N3.8 billion for the lease of fast going vessels for the functions of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (MIMASA).
*Release of N358 million for the procurement of 56 land patrol vehicles by the Nigerian Immigration Service.