The mystery deepened yesterday, following a second letter to the Senate from ailing President Muhammadu Buhari to further extend his vacation in the UK.
In a bid to clear the air on the Presidency’s claims that it communicated Buhari’s letter of extension of his 10-day vacation to the Senate, spokesman of the Upper Chamber, Senator Aliyu Abdullahi Sabi, on Tuesday admitted that the President of the Senate, Abubakar Bukola Saraki received the letter.
Sabi, who was briefing Senate correspondents yesterday, recalled that prior to his 10-day vacation to the UK, President Buhari notified the Senate of his proposed trip in compliance with the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
According to Sabi, “You will recall that before we adjourned plenary, we received a letter from Mr. President which was dated 16th of January 2016 where he told the Senate that he was proceeding on a vacation for 10 days and this is to meet the constitutional provision.
“In the letter, he clearly stated that in his absence the Vice President will take charge of the running of the country. This is the normal thing and of course, based on that timing, Nigerians were rightly expecting the return of Mr. President on Monday.
“I am here to confirm the receipt of a second letter of Mr. President where he is informing the Senate that he is extending his vacation and this arose because in the first letter, he did inform us that he would use that period to see his doctors.
“Now, in this second letter, he informed the Senate that he is extending his vacation because in the course of that routine medical checkup, there are still some tests that needed to be completed and because of that, he is extending his vacation.”
Fielding questions from journalists on the actual date the Senate President received President Buhari’s letter and who signed the letter, the Senate Spokesman became restive and could not give answers to the questions.
He said: “It is uncomplimentary to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for somebody to ask who was the author of the letter, the date, etc.”
Sabi also could not state when the President was expected to return to the country, saying that he was not under any obligation to tell the Parliament when he would be through with his medical vacation as to state when to come back to Nigeria.