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Buhari to embark on a “private visit” to the UK on Thursday

PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari will be travelling to the United Kingdom on Thursday for a “private visit”, according to one of his spokespersons, Femi Adesina.

Adesina made this known via a statement on Thursday.

Buhari is currently in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital where he had embarked on a working visit to commission some “developmental projects especially in the sectors of education, healthcare and roads”, Adesina said.

The President was in Lagos State on Wednesday to inaugurate projects executed by the outgoing Governor Akinwumi Ambode. One of the projects was the renovated Ayinke House, also known as the Institute of Maternal and Child Health in the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH). The facilty, upgraded from an 80-bed to a 170-bed healthcare centre and had modern medical equipment installed, is considered Nigeria’s biggest maternity hospital.

This is the first time Buhari’s trip to the UK would be described as a “private visit” and it is not clear what that means.

Buhari has travelled to London quite regularly in the last four years, mostly for medical reasons, but sometimes to just observe his annual leave.

In June 2016, he took a 10-day medical leave to treat a “persistent ear infection” in London, though he eventually spent 14 days. In August 2018, he also took a ten-day annual leave also in London.

Between May 2015 and May 2018, Buhari set a new record, dislodging Late President Umaru Yar’Adua to become the Nigerian President to have spent more time on medical travels outside the country.

In all his travels outside the country, the President usually transmits a letter to the National assembly as required by the constitution, wherein he would state that the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo would serve as the Acting President in his absence.

Adesina’s statement did not disclose whether the vice president will be acting on Buhari’s behalf this time around.

The official handle of the Nigerian Senate where all the activities of the day are being broadcast in real time did not indicate that a letter was received from the presidency informing the lawmakers of the president’s impending travel.

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