African Press Association

Nigeria divided over president’s return from treatment abroad

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari

From EMEKA OKONKWO in Abuja, Nigeria
ABUJA, (CAJ News) – NIGERIAN President Muhammadu Buhari has elicited a mixed feelings from locals upon his return from medical treatment overseas.
Rights groups accused him of wasting taxpayers’ money.
The head of state returned to the country this past weekend after 100 days in the United Kingdom for treatment of an undisclosed illness thought to be prostate cancer.
Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) said Buhari had breached his electoral pledge to end the so-called medical tourism and calling for its ban.
It was one of his campaign promises before his election in 2015.
“We reject the insinuation from state officials that the treatments were paid for by the family of the president because that is being economical with the truth,” HURIWA stated.
The organisation argued Buhari, during his medical vacation, enjoyed all the presidential privileges and spent all his time in the public house (Nigeria House in London) at our own expense.”
Critics of Buhari have suggested the president could have opted for treatment locally to cut on costs amid the economy experiencing a recession.
HURIWA pointed out the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma, unveiled the 2017 budget in which he told Nigerians government had earmarked N9 billion to be deployed to stop medical tourism by Nigerians.
This, he said, was draining the scarcely available foreign currencies.
“Why then is Mr President an exception to the rule his administration created?” HURIWA quipped.
The All Progressives Congress Youth Forum (APYF) absolved Buhari from corruption describing him as a “tenacious, tireless and incorruptible leader.”
“Having prayed for his safe return and recovery, we are ecstatic and eager to see this administration continue its social reform and economic stabilization policies,” said Ismaeel Ahmed, National Chairman of APYF.
CAJ News