President Muhammadu Buhari left Nigeria for London last night for a follow-up medical consultation with his doctors.
Prof Yemi Osinbajo will now take charge as acting president until Buhari returns.
The president delayed his departure by several hours in order to receive 82 Chibok school girls who were released by Boko Haram insurgents in Borno State on Saturday.
Presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, said in a statement yesterday that the duration of the president’s stay in London would be determined by his doctors.
According to Adesina, the president wishes to assure all Nigerians that there is no cause for worry.
Adesina Adesina stated: “He is very grateful for the prayers and good wishes of the people, and hopes they would continue to pray for the peace and unity of the nation.
“The length of the President’s stay in London will be determined by the doctors. Government will continue to function normally under the able leadership of the Vice President.
“President Buhari has transmitted letters about the trip to the Senate and the House of Representatives, in compliance with Section 145 (1) of the 1999 Constitution.”
Section 145 (1) of the 1999 constitution provides that “Whenever the President transmits to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives a written declaration that he is proceeding on vacation or that he is otherwise unable to discharge the functions of his office, until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary such functions shall be discharged by the Vice-President as Acting President.”
President Buhari also received in audience Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Senate President Bukola Saraki, Speaker of the House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara and Zamfara Governor and chairman of Nigeria Governors Forum Abdulaziz Abubakar Yari ahead of his trip to London yesterday.
Buhari returned to Nigeria March 10, after 50 days medical vacation in London. The president had originally taken 10 days leave but extended his stay based on his doctors advice.
In remarks during a reception on his return, Buhari had said: “I have rested as much as humanly possible. I couldn’t recall being so sick since I was a young man, including in the military with its ups and downs. I found out that technology is moving so fast that if you have a lot of confidence, you had better keep it because you need it; blood transfusions, going to the laboratories and so on and so forth. But I am very pleased that we, when I say we, I mean the government and the people all over are trying to keep up with technology.”
President Buhari, who said he felt “much better now”, however emphasised that “All I will need is to do further follow-ups within some weeks.”