SENIOR Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity Garba Shehu has given reasons for the absence of the Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari at the funeral of Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Ibrahim Attahiru held on Saturday.
Speaking at an interview with Arise TV on Tuesday, Shehu hinted that the president, in consideration of the safety of ordinary Nigerians, stayed away from the funeral ceremony to avoid ‘closing of roads’ and molestation of citizens on his account.
“I was in Europe myself on assignment and I have not spoken to the president on this, but let me give you just one example. The president is somebody who is so concerned with the safety and well-being of ordinary Nigerians on the streets.
“Do you know he now prays his Jumaat in the State House and doesn’t go to the National Mosque? Because he doesn’t like this idea of closing roads, security men molesting people on the road for the president to have right of way,” he said.
According to Shehu, the president’s absence was also to avoid taking attention away from the funeral ceremony of the COAS, which he described as a mourning situation.
Recall that the COAS along with 10 other top military officers who died in a plane crash on Friday was laid to rest at the National Military Cemetery in Abuja.
Shehu also addressed the issue of the Nigerian President seeking a third term in office, saying that Buhari was not interested in such discussions.
He noted that the attacks on security facilities and INEC offices across the country were executed by anarchists and would not stop elections come 2023.
“I believe that the law enforcement is efficient enough to deal with the on-going challenge. President Buhari is not interested in third term, he is not cut out for that,” he said.
As the election year inches closer, the issue of the president’s term limit has become a topic at the centre of public discussion for many Nigerians.
The 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, however, provides in Section 137(1b) that elected presidents and government officials could only serve in government for a maximum of two terms.
“A person shall not be qualified for election to the office of the President if he has been elected to such office at any two previous elections.”