Nigeria’s Buhari Misses Third Consecutive Cabinet Meeting

  • Buhari earlier this year went for medical treatment in London
  • President’s wife says Buhari not as sick as being perceived

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari failed to attend a third consecutive weekly cabinet meeting, fueling concern about an undisclosed illness that’s prevented him from appearing in public for more than two weeks.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo led the meeting on Wednesday in Abuja, the capital, while Information Minister Lai Mohammed explained Buhari’s absence by saying he’s following medical advice. The 74-year-old leader hasn’t made a public appearance since April 14, when he attended Friday prayers at a mosque, feeding speculation about his fitness to govern Africa’s most populous nation of more than 180 million people.

President Muhammadu Buhari

SUNDAY AGHAEZE/AFP/Getty Images

“There are concerns about the president’s health,” Razia Khan, head of Africa macro research at Standard Chartered Plc in London, said in an interview at the World Economic Forum on Africa in Durban. With a deputy who can step in when necessary, “there is that absence of that really dramatic uncertainty,” she said.

Buhari stayed in the U.K. for more than seven weeks earlier this year to receive treatment for an undisclosed ailment. He returned to Nigeria on March 10, but the presidency said in April he was expected to fly back to London for further care.

The president’s wife, Aisha Buhari, said on her Twitter account on Tuesday that “his health is not as bad as it’s being perceived.” Buhari had a meeting that same day with Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami and head of Nigerian National Petroleum Corp., Maikanti Baru, she said.

“The president was at his office yesterday and he worked,” Mohammed told reporters Wednesday. “Mr. President is sticking to his doctors’ advice so that he can recover quicker.”

— With assistance by Michael Cohen

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