Abuja, Nigeria | AFP | Nigeria’s president has missed the last two meetings of his cabinet, a senior minister said on Wednesday, in comments likely to fuel fresh speculation about the head of state’s health.
Muhammadu Buhari, who spent two months on medical leave in London earlier this year, missed the meeting “because he asked that he be allowed to rest”, said information minister Lai Mohammed.
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, who stood in as acting president during 74-year-old Buhari’s time in the British capital, chaired the meeting, Mohammed told reporters.
“He will be working from home. He has asked all his files to be taken to him in the house,” he added.
The weekly cabinet meeting was last held before Easter on April 16 but again Buhari did not attend, although Mohammed stressed his absence was “nothing unusual”.
Buhari’s aides repeatedly insisted during his time in London that the president was “hale and hearty”, countering rumours he was seriously ill and even dead.
But the former military ruler said on his return in early March he “couldn’t recall being so sick” and referred to having to have “blood transfusions” and tests, without specifying his condition.
He also disclosed he may need to return to London within weeks for follow-up treatment.
He has appeared frail during the rare public appearances he has made since then.
Rumours about his health have dogged Buhari even before he came to power in May 2015. He rejected claims during the election that he was critically ill from prostate cancer.
He first travelled to London in June last year for what aides said was a persistent inner ear infection, returning in January for check-ups, according to his office.
The health of Nigeria’s president is a sensitive issue. President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua died in office in 2010 from a long-standing, but previously undisclosed, kidney complaint.
His illness and treatment in hospital abroad saw months of political uncertainty.