Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari pictured during his Al Jazeera interview in Qatar in 2016 | Al Jazeera

The Nigerian presidency on Thursday, January 26, 2017 insisted that despite the rumour doing the rounds on the president’s state of health, Muhammadu Buhari is not ill.

Femi Adesina, one of the president’s spokespersons, in an interview with CNBC Africa, which was monitored in Abuja, said Buhari could not be compelled to speak from the United Kingdom.

This comes on the heel of the call by the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, urging the president to make a public appearance and address Nigerian.

Adesina insisted that Buhari was only in London, UK, for vacation and was not in any hospital.

He said, “The President is in London on vacation. He is not in any hospital and he is not ill.

“When he was travelling last week, the statement we put out was that he was going on vacation and during the vacation, he would do routine check-up and nothing has changed from what we pushed out last week.

“If anybody has fed something else into the rumour mill, that is just what it is – rumour.”

When asked if Buhari would be willing to talk to Nigerians from the UK, Adesina said the decision could only be taken by the President himself.

The presidential aide said any attempt to compel Buhari to do so would amount to infringement on his rights.

“The fact that he is a President, he still has his rights. Compelling him to come out and talk will be infringing on his rights. The President will talk if he wishes to. If he doesn’t wish to, nobody will compel him to talk.

“The truth is that the President is on vacation and he has given a date on which he will return to work,’’ Adesina said.

Buhari Health Rumours

Rumours about the health status of the president continue to swirl on cyber-space after a fake news website reported that Buhari had passed on.

The Nigerian presidency has debunked the rumour and said that the retired military general, 74, is “alive and well”.

“He is alive and well! President Buhari is not magical. He cannot be holidaying in the UK and be in Germany, dead or alive at the same time,” Garba Shehu, one of Buhari’s spokespersons, said in a short post on his Facebook page.

The president left the country last week on a 10-day leave and is expected back home on February 2, 2017. While making the official announcement, presidential spokesperson, Femi Adesina had assured that there is nothing to worry about the president’s routine medical checkup while on his vacation.

The president himself also made it clear that there is nothing wrong with going on vacation, just before stepping into the presidential jet.

The rumours won’t go away. Wednesday morning, news began to circulate online that the present was on life-support at King’s College Hospital. According to the blogger who reported the story, his source is an inside source familiar with the situation.

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