The Information and Culture Minister, Lai Muhammed, said President Muhammed Buhari was absent at the Federal Executive Council meeting because he chose to work from home yesterday.
Mohammed said this at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting at the Presidential Villa Abuja.
President Buhari was absent at Wednesday’s meeting, the third time in a month.
In a statement issued in Abuja, Alhaji Lai Mohammed clarified that he did not mean that the President would work from home henceforth.
He said the headlines in a section of the media, ”Buhari to now work from home – Lai Mohammed,” is a misrepresentation of his statement at the briefing.
Quoting verbatim the relevant section of his briefing, Alhaji Mohammed said: ”He (the President) wanted to rest TODAY and he asked the VP to preside over TODAY’S meeting.
“In addition, he also asked that all his files be taken home to him and he will be working from home TODAY.”
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo presided over today’s weekly meeting of the Federal Executive Council at the Aso Chambers, State House, Abuja.
Mohammed said that the President needed some rest and has asked that all the files on his table be brought to him at his official residence at the Presidential Villa, Abuja for treatment.
The report of his incapacitation by Punch newspaper earned the reporter an expulsion from the villa.
The Correspondent of Punch Newspapers, Olalekan Adetayo, was expelled by the Chief Security Officer (CSO) to President Buhari.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, confirmed the recall of the reporter.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party and Civil Liberties Organisation have criticised President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to perform his official roles from home.
In a statement, Mohammed said the President only decided to work from home on Wednesday, not that he had decided to work from home henceforth.
The minister said, “He (the President) wanted to rest today and he asked the VP to preside over today’s meeting.
“In addition, he also asked that all his files be taken home to him and he will be working from home today.’’
But the PDP kicked against the development, urging the Presidency to reveal Buhari’s health status.
Spokesman for the party’s National Caretaker Committee, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, stated the party’s position in an interview with our one of our correspondents in Abuja on Wednesday.
Adeyeye said it was obvious that Mohammed did not know what to tell Nigerians following the third consecutive absence of the President from the weekly FEC meeting.
He said, “We have passed a stage whereby you dish out lies to Nigerians on a daily basis about the health status of the President.
“We had such and similar experience during the days of the late former President Umaru Yar’Adua, when his health status was being manipulated by a cabal within the Presidency. We should be allowed to forget that era.
“President Buhari is human like any other person and is liable to fall sick as well.
“But he was elected to a public office and he is occupying a public office. He cannot therefore claim to be working behind the curtains.
“He is not allowed to work secretly because he was not elected to work secretly. FEC is statutory and he must preside over it.”
The CLO said it was conflicting that Buhari, who was reported to be resting at home, would attend to files on national issues.
The CLO President, Igho Akeregha, said the President should resign if his health could not sustain the pressure of work, adding that Nigerians would still respect him for his “ardent fight against corruption.”
He stated, “This is a fraudulent setup that the APC government is taking Nigerians through. The information minister said the President wanted to rest and asked the VP to stand in for him. At another time, the minister said the President had asked for files to be brought to him at home. Now what time does a man who wants to rest indeed have to start working on files?
“Why is the President continuously missing the very important Federal Executive Council meeting? The conclusion to all of these is that this is a butterfly regime that flies around and lies to Nigerians.
“Nigerians voted for change and these individuals, including Mr President, have shown that they are not ready to govern.
“The way out is that the President should resign and Nigerians will have a big place in history for him as a man who came and vehemently challenged corruption.
“But hanging around office and trying to protect the cabal is not good for the country. You cannot run a country in this manner.” – Additional report from Punch.