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Buhari President back in Nigeria after unscheduled 2-day stopover in London

The president had stopped in London for two days without any official statement on his whereabouts.

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President Muhammadu Buhari

(Twitter/@BashirAhmaad)

President Muhammadu Buhari has returned to Nigeria after a two-day "technical stopover" in London on his way back from a working visit to the United States of America.

The president arrived at the presidential wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja at about 10:35pm and was received by his Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, and other officials.

After meeting with US president, Donald Trump, as well as with business executives on his visit to America, President Buhari had departed from Joint Base Andrews Airport and officially headed for Abuja on Tuesday, May 1, 2018.

However, after it was discovered that the president's official Eagle One aircraft had landed in London on Tuesday without any official reason given to the public for two days, the presidency was forced to explain that the president was on a "technical stopover".

The president's Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said, "They had a technical stopover in London. I am sure if you keep your ears to the ground, you will hear of his arrival soon.

He later clarified, "The big jet is under repairs. It has been taken for major repairs. So the president is using a small plane and there is a limit to the distance the small plane can cover.

"So the technical stopover I talked about is that the journey from US to Abuja is broken into two. Technical stopover is that the plane stops at a point, refuel, do some checks and then proceed on the journey.

"It is a routine thing. The plane can do Abuja-Washington, that's about 12 hours and the maximum the plane can fly is 12 hours, 40 minutes. But you don't need to push it to the edge. This is very normal. There is nothing unusual about it. In any case, they are already on their way back home."

Buhari's medical trips

Despite Shehu's claims about the "technical stopover", the president's presence in London is believed to be in connection to his recent health issues.

In 2017, he spent a combined 154 days in London on two separate medical visits to treat an undisclosed illness, prompting concerns about how fit he is for duty.

Since the 75-year-old president declared to run for a second term in the 2019 presidential election, his health status is expected to be a major vulnerability for the opposition to exploit.

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