President Muhammadu Buhari was scheduled to jet out of the country to London, for a private visit; the 11th time in four years.
Femi Adesina, a spokesperson of the president, said in a statement, Thursday, April 25, 2019 that President Buhari would leave Nigeria after a visit to Maiduguri, the Borno capital to commission projects in the sectors of education, healthcare and roads.
“Further to the official visit by President Muhammadu Buhari to Lagos Wednesday where he commissioned a number of projects executed by the State Government, the President is scheduled to depart for Maiduguri, the Borno State capital for another official visit Thursday,” the statement read.
“He is expected to commission developmental projects especially in the sectors of education, healthcare and roads. “At the end of the visit, President Buhari will be proceeding to the United Kingdom on a private visit. He is expected to return to Nigeria on May 5, 2019.”
The President’s surprised trip, ahead of his inauguration next month evoked memories of his protracted and extended medical vacations he took upon assuming office in 2015, raising concerns about the toll of the campaign on his fragile health. This time around, the president will be away for 10 days, Adesina said. Although his last trip to the UK was about eight months ago, the president’s visits to the UK have been mostly for medical tourism.
Prior to Thursday’s visit, Buhari has been to the UK 10 times since taking office in 2015. The first visit came eight months into his tenure, on February 5, 2016, when the president travelled to the UK for his first vacation. He returned to the country on February 10, 2016. He stayed home just for two months and from 13 May to May 15 2016, Buhari attended the first ever Anti-corruption summit in the United Kingdom. The summit attracted various heads of state from around Africa. The summit was vital to getting international support for anti-corruption and terrorism in Nigeria.
Next, on June 6, 2016, Buhari left Nigeria for his first medical vacation. Buhari took a 10-day medical trip to London to treat an ear infection. He extended his trip by 3 days to rest. He returned from that journey on June 19, 2016. The fourth trip came on January 19, 2017, the President travelled to the UK on medical leave and returned on March 10 after spending 51 days out of the country.
Forty days later, Buhari travelled again to the UK for medical attention on May 8, 2017, and remained there till August 19, 2017, spending 104 days, a record which surpassed that of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua. On September 21, 2017, he travelled from the US to the UK for medical purposes and returned to Abuja on September 25, 2017.
Buhari was in the UK for 13 days from April 9 to 21, 2018 for his annual leave. He participated in the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting and also met with the British Prime Minister, Theresa May. On May 2 to 4, Buhari had a “technical stopover” at the UK from a trip from the US after a meeting from US President Donald Trump. Buhari had left the American capital on the morning of May 1 and arrived at the presidential wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja on May 4, 2018.
Four days after returning to Nigeria, Buhari traveled again to the UK for medical reasons on May 8, 2018, and he returned on May 11. The president travelled to London on a working leave on August 3, 2018, and returned on the 18th of the same month, spending a total of 16 days.
If Mr. President returns home after the announced 10 days, it will mean that since 2015, Buhari has spent a record 220 days visiting London in the first four years of his tenure as president.