BUHARI WILL CONTINUE TO REST UNTIL HE’S FIT TO WORK – LIA MOHAMMED

The federal government has said that President
Muhammadu Buhari will continue to rest until he
has fully recovered and is fit to work based on his
doctor’s advice.
Making this remark on Wednesday while briefing
journalists at the end of the weekly Federal
Executive Council (FEC) meeting in the Presidential
Villa, Abuja, the Minister of Information and Culture,
Mr. Lai Mohammed, said Buhari was not in the
meeting because he chose to rest.

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He dismissed inquiries by State House
correspondents seeking to know if the president’s
health had deteriorated to the extent that he was
being fed.

Mohammed whose response to the question was
“bunkum”, argued that it was better for the
president to rest in compliance with his doctor’s
advice, insisting that it was in his interest to get
adequate rest until he’s fit to work instead of
forcing himself to work.

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“The answer to your first question is absolute
bunkum. It is absolutely untrue that he is being fed.
He was in the office yesterday as you all reported.
“And if the doctors say he should take a rest,
because they think he’ll recover faster, then he
ought to rest rather than forcing himself to work
when he is not fit to work.

“All he’s doing is following the doctor’s advice. Mr.
President himself told the nation he had never been
this sick and he is going to take it easy. He said it
from day one when he came back from the United
Kingdom.

“So, whatever is happening today is not any strange
development. It is exactly what he said: that he’s
been advised to take it easy by his doctors and that
he will soon also go back for further treatment.

“So, I don’t think it’s anything that is out of the
place from what he said. He has been quite
transparent and upfront in the matter concerning his
health,” Mohammed said.
Buhari was absent from the weekly cabinet meeting
on Wednesday for the record third time, thus raising
speculations that his health might have deteriorated.

The president was first absent from the weekly
meeting on April 12, with Mohammed saying that
he had deliberately stayed away from the meeting
because the agenda was light, hence his decision
to yield the floor to his deputy, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo,
to preside over the day’s meeting.

But the following week, the meeting was completely
cancelled. This time, the excuse given was that the
Easter break had prevented the staff of the council
chamber secretariat from circulating memos for the
meeting to ministers.
Again, the president did not show up on April 26,
during which Mohammed said Buhari had asked the
vice-president to preside over the meeting having
informed the council that he would be attending to
matters of state from home.
Mohammed on Wednesday also thanked Nigerians
whom he said had been concerned and sympathetic
about Buhari’s health.

“We want to take this opportunity to thank Nigerians
who have expressed a lot of concern and sympathy,
and who have been praying for him.

“Like we’ve always said, Mr. President will stick to
his doctor’s advice so that he can recover quickly.
We thank all of them for their concern. I think it
shows how concerned Nigerians are about the
health of the president. And all their suggestions
are being taken on board,” he added.

Mohammed, however, said the president’s health
notwithstanding, the government would mark its
second year in office on May 29, claiming that
since inception, the government has saved $100
million in foreign exchange and another N60 billion
in budgetary provisions.
He also submitted that in the last two years, the
government had addressed fundamental issues on
the economy, fought insecurity and corruption and
placed an emphasis on infrastructure development.

“Not that alone, we have been able to revive 11
food blending plants. Before now, only five blending
plants were working at 10 per cent capacity, and we
saved about $100 million in foreign exchange and
about N60 billion in budgetary provisions.

“In the area of power, we have signed 13 power
purchase agreements with 13 solar companies. And
that is going to add at least more electricity to the
national grid, among others.
“So, we have a good story to tell Nigerians and I
think that is what they want to hear,” Mohammed
said.

A presidency also informed newsmen that Buhari’s
doctors have counselled the president to rest as
much as possible and to avoid any activity that
might cause him stress in any shape of form,
adding that by resting more often, the president
stands a good chance of a making quick and full
recovery.

Meanwhile, the presidential committee probing
allegations of financial impropriety against the
suspended Secretary to the Government of the
Federation (SGF), Babachir David Lawal, as well as
the claim of ownership of N13.3 billion discovered
in an apartment in Ikoyi, Lagos, said on Wednesday
that it has concluded its assignment but would only
submit its report next Monday.

This disclosure was however in contrast to the
submission of the Attorney-General of the
Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar
Malami on Tuesday, when he said that the
committee would submit its report on Wednesday.

A statement by the vice-president’s media aide, Mr.
Laolu Akande, said whereas the committee
concluded its assignment on Wednesday, it would
submit its report on Monday, May 8.
The committee headed by Osinbajo comprises the
AGF and National Security Adviser (NSA), Major-
General Babagana Monguno (rtd.).

The statement read: “The three-man Presidential
Investigative Committee set up by President
Muhammadu Buhari under the chairmanship of
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) to inquire into
the discovery of foreign and local currencies by the
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission
(EFCC) at Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos, and the
allegations of due process violations in the award
of contracts under the Presidential Initiative on the
North East (PINE) is completing its assignment
today (yesterday) and is scheduled to present its
report to the president on Monday, May 8, 2017.”

Also joining the fray on the president’s health,
another group based in the north on Wednesday
warned leaders and politicians from the South-west
against exploiting the uncertainty arising from
Buhari’s health.

The Northern Patriotic Assembly (NPA), in a
statement issued in Kaduna, described the
statements from prominent Nigerians and some
civil society groups, mainly of Yoruba extraction, as
“immoral” and “despicable”.
The group’s warning came after a similar one
issued by another prominent northern group, the
Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), on Tuesday.

The northern groups were reacting to calls by some
prominent Nigerians, including human rights lawyer,
Mr. Femi Falana, who had asked the president to
proceed on medical vacation in order to cater to his
health.

The former National Chairman of the All
Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Bisi Akande,
had also warned that “some people” in the
corridors of power were feasting on Buhari’s health.
Akande added that the uncertainty over his health
was taking a toll on the country and expressed fear
that Nigeria might be thrown into anarchy.

The former APC chairman had said Nigeria was
facing two challenges – the Buhari health challenge
and the lack of cohesion between the National
Assembly and the presidency, which according to
him were “two great red flags that have the
potential of plunging the country into unprecedented
chaos and destabilising the gains of democracy
since 1999”.

But in the statement signed by the President of the
NPA, Hon. Idakwo Jibrin, and its Secretary General,
Alhaji Adamu Wakil, the group particularly frowned
on the statements by Akande and Falana.
NPA further alleged that Akande and Falana’s
statements were part of a larger plot to plunge the
country into a crisis, bearing in mind that the Yoruba
will be the beneficiaries if the president is forced to
step down.

According to the group, Buhari’s health has been
politicised beyond comprehension by politicians
who hide behind the pretext of agitating for what is
in the best interest of the country.
It added: “Even more unnerving is a situation
whereby people we once held in high esteem as
elders, leaders and professionals decided to
descend into the mud, using President Buhari’s
health as their new object of obsession.

“They have fanatically tried to impose this
obsession of theirs on other Nigerians in a
desperate bid to cause panic and confusion.
“Sadder still is the fact that these mischief makers
are people who pose as President Buhari’s All
Progressives Congress (APC) party leaders,
associates and friends.
“With this crow of desperadoes Mr. President need
not worry about the opposition, the real viper’s nest
is in his courtyard.

“They are the ones, who finding no avenue to corner
the government to themselves, are now working day
and night to use the president’s health as a
campaign tool to hijack the government.
“We want Nigerians to specifically call these people
to order. They cannot be allowed to run riot with
their own mission to the detriment of the rest of us.

“The founding chairman of the APC, Chief Bisi
Akande, who spoke from two opposing directions –
he urged caution about the way President Buhari’s
health is discussed, yet went on to describe it as a
challenge to Nigeria.

“This prevarification is unbecoming of an elder
statesman of his stature. He should apologise to
Nigerians and stop making such unguarded
utterances going forward.

“Akande’s role is however that of the ‘Voice of
Jacob and the Hand of Esau’ since it is glaring he
spoke for the self appointed Yoruba leader, Bola
Tinubu, whose protégé is the next in line to benefit
if President Buhari can be shoved aside on health
grounds.
“This is a reckless abuse of the constitution and
open provocation of the masses. We therefore tell
Tinubu in clear terms to allow the nation be.

“The same way he could not sell the Muslim-
Muslim ticket to hitch a ride as President Buhari’s
deputy is the way he would not succeed in the
current venture.

“In what has been confirmed that President Buhari’s
health is being exploited as a Yoruba plot against
the rest of Nigeria, APC affiliated lawyer, Chief Femi
Falana, is apparently cobbling together an alliance
of lawyers, commercial CSOs and paid activists to
cause a crisis.”

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