The President, who was on an official visit to Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, on Thursday, was expected to travel to the UK after the trip to the north-eastern state. He will be away till May 5.
Due to this, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo presided over the Federal Executive Council meeting where the Federal Government approved N52bn for the electronic monitoring of Nigeria’s borders with neighboring countries.
The statement by the President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, stated, “Further to the official visit by President Muhammadu Buhari to Lagos on Wednesday where he inaugurated a number of projects executed by the state government, the President is scheduled to depart for Maiduguri, the Borno State capital for another official visit on Thursday.
“He is expected to inaugurate developmental projects especially in the sectors of education, health care and roads.
“At the end of the visit, President Buhari will be proceeding to the United Kingdom on a private visit. He is expected to return to Nigeria on May 5, 2019.”
However, the National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, who spoke with one of our correspondents, said it was improper for the President to travel with public funds but fail to “disclose his movements.”
He said it would be wrong for the President to allow Nigerians to be speculating on whether he (the President) was attending to his health or not.
Secondus said, “The President is not travelling as in individual. He is travelling as the President of Nigeria who was elected by Nigerians in 2015 to lead them.
“He is not going to the UK on a commercial airline; but on a presidential jet that is being maintained by taxpayers. Nigerians are going to be responsible for his welfare and the welfare of those who are going with him.
“The President should therefore open up and tell Nigerians his itinerary in the UK. Is he going on holiday? Is he going for medicals? Who are those who will be his guests there and where will he visit? Is he going on a short break?
“These are not too much to tell the people, especially by a man who preaches integrity and always claims that his government has nothing to hide.”
In its reaction, the CUPP said the trip had proved that the country had been on autopilot since he assumed office.
The coalition’s national spokesman, Imo Ugochinyere, said since his trips were funded with taxpayers’ money, the President should disclose the reason for his latest travel instead of tagging it a private visit.
He said, “The President is taking Nigerians for granted. He does whatever he likes without bothering about anybody. After spending over a year outside the country in the last four years, he has again embarked on what he called a private visit with the taxpayers’ money.
“The man is not doing anything. The country is on autopilot. The country has been on autopilot since he took over and it is still on autopilot.
“If he is going for regular medicals, he should be bold enough to tell us. If he is going on holiday, he should also tell us because his trips are funded with taxpayers’ money.
“It is clear that the country does not have a competent leader. The job of the President is a 24 hours’ job but this man is not doing this job.”
On his part, the Executive Director, United Global Resolve for Peace, Shalom Olaseni, said the President had the constitutional right to leave the country even for more than a week without disclosing his itinerary in as much as proper handing over to the Vice-President was done.
He, however, expressed concerns over Buhari’s frequent trips, which he said, had not yielded any benefit to the nation.
However, in spite of the criticisms by the opposition, attempts to get the reaction of the President’s media managers did not yield fruit.