18 August 2017

Nigeria: Buhari's Return Is Imminent, Says Saraki

Photo: Presidency Nigeria
The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, on Thursday visited President Muhammadu Buhari at the Abuja House, London

Ailing Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari's return to the country from London where he is receiving medical treatment for an undisclosed ailment is imminent, the president of the country's senate said on Thursday.

"It is clear that Mr President's insistence on following his doctors' advice has yielded the desired results," Saraki said.

"I therefore confidently look forward to Mr President's imminent return home."

Senate President Bukola Saraki and the speaker of House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara were the latest Nigerian public officials to meet Buhari in London. Last week the president received a team of his media aides including Nigeria's information minister Lai Mohammed, spokesmen Femi Adesina and Garba Shehu, and his personal assistant on social media Lauretta Onochie and senior adviser on foreign affairs and diaspora Abike Dabiri-Erewa.

Buhari has spent more than 100 days in London having left Nigeria on May 7, transferring power to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

His absence from the country has spun a few yet sustained protests in the Nigerian capital city Abuja. Counter protests by groups loyal to the president have also been held. Face offs between the two groups have resulted in violence.

On Tuesday, singer and media personality Charles 'Charly Boy' Oputa, led a modest rally of around a dozen of his followers into the city's sprawling Wuse market.

They were however attacked by traders from the president's own Hausa ethnic group, pelted with stones and chased out of the market -- leaving behind Oputa's BMW convertible in the chaos, AFP reported.

A Guardian reporter Dare Richards was also attacked by the pro-Buhari crowd.

But Saraki's statement after meeting with Buhari on Thursday suggested the protest may not need to hold for long as the president is due to return home soon.

He said Buhari was abreast of the goings-on in Nigeria and that the meeting with the 74-year old leader was "of substance where we discussed important matters of state" including the 2017 budget.

"In particular, we talked about the virement request by the Presidency which is before the National Assembly," said the Senate president.

"We then considered the steps to be taken in the preparation of the 2018 budget to ensure its early passage."

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