Nigerian civil rights activists led by Lagos lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), have called on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately proceed on medical leave.
The call was contained in a statement issued on Monday and jointly signed by the activists.
Signatories to the statement also included Professor Jibrin Ibrahim, Debo Adeniran, Dr. Chris Kwaja, Mr. Y. Z. Ya’u, Mr. Chom Bagu and Mr. Olanrewaju Suraju. Others were Messrs. Ezenwa Nwagwu, Anwal Musa Rafsanjani, David Ugolor, ‘Sina Odugbemi, Muhammed Attah and Adetokunbo Mumuni.
The activists noted that the President’s health appears to have deteriorated, given that he has neither been seen in public in the last one week nor attended the last two meetings of the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
“His absence at the last Jumat service in the villa has fuelled further speculations and rumors on President Buhari’s medical condition,” the activists said.
They equally noted that government officials have been defending the President’s absence at the last FEC meeting and other state functions. Specifically, said the activists, Mr. Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, stated that “the president’s doctors have advised on his taking things slowly, as he fully recovers from the long period of treatment in the United Kingdom some weeks ago”.
While the activists said they are praying for the President’s speedy recovery, they advised him to heed the counsel of his doctors by taking a rest to attend to his health without any further delay.
The activists took a dim view of the conduct of government officials, saying instead of providing information on the actual state of the President’s health, they have been assuring the public that there is no need for apprehension.
They recalled that the President was recently in the United Kingdom on a medical vacation, which lasted 59 days, during which many public officials said he was “hale and hearty.”
“But upon his return to the country, President Buhari disclosed that he had never been that sick in his entire life. Even though the President did not disclose the nature of his ailment, he revealed that he went through blood transfusion,” recalled the activists. They also noted that the President disclosed that he might soon travel back for further treatment.
In a similar vein, Mr. Falana and the other activists recalled that a few weeks ago, Mr. Nasir El-Rufai, governor of Kaduna State, urged Nigerians to give President Buhari time to recover from his sickness. The activists reckoned that the governor made the plea after assessing his condition during a visit to the President at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.