Buhari’s absence makes little difference, he’s still working – Kachikwu

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Minister Ibe Kachikwu throws support behind President Buhari’s continuous stay in UK on medical vacation

The minister said the President is still capable of issuing policies and approving projects

He also said the president has mandated his ministers to stop flying private jets

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, has said Preisdent Muhammadu Buhari is still having meetings and playing some roles.

Kachikwu, who made this statement during a BBC Hard Talk interview, also said the president is still capable of issuing policies and approving projects when necessary.

He said the President is undergoing hospital treatments in London but he doesn’t know the full details and he wouldn’t know. He said: “Yes, he is in London.

He is undergoing hospital treatment, (but) I don’t know the details of that and I obviously wouldn’t know.

“But let me say this, he returned from his first trip in London, even though the doctors advised him to have some rest.

“He’s back to London and he has continued some levels of meetings and has been able to play some roles.

“He has a very efficient Vice-President who is sitting in for him in his absence. It really hasn’t made much of a difference.” When asked what was wrong with Buhari, the minister said:

“I don’t know. But let’s face it; who in the world goes around giving to everybody what their medical statuses are? “The doctors have got to be able to release something official and he’s working through it. It has not become a major problem.”

When he was pressed further on the capability of the President to continue in office, the minister said: “Well, we’ve heard rumours in Nigeria about sick presidents off and on, most of them sometimes not quite correct.

Will he be able to lead Nigeria? “I think looking at the sort of conversations I had with him when he came back, he was strong enough to do his work, struggled a bit in terms of trying to fully recover.

“Nobody plans on illness, it happens. He has an efficient number two man; the system works, that’s the whole essence of democracy.

“He’s on top of his abilities to be able to issue policies and to be able to approve what he needs to be approved.”

Asked to explain why Nigeria still has about 11 aircraft for ministerial use despite the economy suffering a recession, the minister said: “There isn’t any aircraft for ministerial use. Ministers don’t use (private) aircraft, we travel public.

“There are some presidential jets, some of which have been put up for sale, although I don’t have the details.

“But I think it is down from an initial of about 11 or 12 to something like about seven and only two or three are really in proper condition.

“And I know he’s given some authorisation for some to be sold. So in terms of numerical accountability he has reduced that substantially. Ministers are tied to travelling business class by commercial airlines.”

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