An aide to ailing Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari has said asking for his health status is a mark of disrespect to the 74-year old leader.
Lauretta Onochie spoke on Channels TV on Monday hours after protesters demanded that the president either resume or resign from his post. She insisted that her boss was currently a private citizen and that his health records should not be for public consumption.
“I have no idea why anybody would disrespect another by asking for the details of their health status,” Onochie added.
“As we speak, we have an acting president. President Buhari seems to be a private citizen at the moment. It is very disrespectful for anyone to ask for his health status,” she added.
Buhari has spent most part of this year in London receiving treatment for an unspecified medical condition. He left for London for a medical checkup on May 7, leaving Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to lead the country.
The president, in a recent letter to Guinea’s President Alpha Conde, said he would only return to Nigeria “as soon as doctors give the go-ahead.”
He had earlier left Nigeria on January 19 for London to “undergo routine medical check-ups” during a short holiday. He only returned on March 10 after an extended period of medical treatment.
He tacitly acknowledged that he was very ill, telling his cabinet members that “I couldn’t recall being so sick since I was a young man.” He also said he had “blood transfusions, going to the laboratories and so on and so forth”.
But in spite of the acknowledgement, Onochie insisted that calling on Buhari to resume was both unnecessary and insensitive especially since he handed over to Osinbajo.
“It is very insensitive of anyone to begin to call on someone who is unwell to resume,” Onochie said.
“Governance is going on, the role of the President is that of coordination; governance is a collective duty. When he was leaving, power was fully transferred to the Vice President and today, we have an Acting President,” she added.