Barring any last-minute change, President Muhammadu Buhari will on Friday or Saturday leave Nigeria for the United Kingdom for a four-day program, SaharaReporters has gathered.
According to a presidential source, the trip is being kept secret to avoid rampage or any “embarrassing protest” against the Nigerian President in London.
“President Buhari is leaving for the UK tomorrow or Saturday for a 4-day program. The secret trip has not been announced yet to avoid rampage against him in London. Recall how his last trip attracted protests in London,” the source told SaharaReporters.
Buhari and members of his family routinely travel to the UK for medical treatment amidst the insufficient and poorly equipped hospitals in the oil-rich country.
In March, the Nigerian leader went to the UK for what the Presidency described as a “routine” check-up.
The trip sparked off a controversy as it coincided with the strike by the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD).
To express their displeasure at the medical trip, some Nigerians stormed the Abuja House in London where the President lodged, asking him to return to the country.
Since he assumed office on May 29, 2015, Buhari has embarked on medical trips abroad at least five times, covering a period of no fewer than 160 days of the six years he has been in power.
The following is a timeline of the President’s trips for medical treatment; between February 5 and 10, 2016, the President took a six-day vacation in the United Kingdom, saying that his doctors lived in England.
Between June 6 and 19, 2016, Buhari went on a 10-day medical trip to England for an ear infection surgery. He extended his trip by three days to rest.
On January 19, 2017, the President was back in London again on a medical vacation.
On February 5, 2017, he wrote to the National Assembly, seeking an extension of his London medical leave. Later on March 10, 2017, Buhari returned to Nigeria but didn’t resume work immediately at Aso Villa.
The Presidency had claimed that “he was working from home.”
On May 7, 2017, Buhari embarked on a trip to London for another medical vacation. He returned after 104 days – the longest he had stayed outside the country.
On August 19, 2017, Buhari returned to Nigeria, and it took him a while to resume work because rats had purportedly damaged furniture in his office.
The Presidency, therefore, announced that he would be working from home.
On May 8, 2018, Buhari went to London for a four-day “medical review.”On April 26, 2019, Buhari again left for the UK on a 10-day private visit to seek medical care. He came back to the country on May 5.
Also, from March 30 to April 6, 2021, the President embarked on another trip for a routine medical check-up in London.