Nigeria’s president has been worryingly absent for the past two weeks. Last month, the 74-year-old Muhammadu Buhari announced he would travel
Nigeria’s president has been worryingly absent for the past two weeks. Last month, the 74-year-old Muhammadu Buhari announced he would travel to London to undergo medical treatment for an unspecified illness. The military leader-cum-president returns to work on Monday, but rumours about his failing health will continue to swirl.
Last June, Mr Buhari took a similar 10-day leave of absence to treat an apparent ear infection. At the time, the main opposition party released a statement saying the president was “critically ill”, provoking angry denials from his administration and supporters.
As the leader of Africa’s most populous nation – and one of its largest economies – President Buhari is a key regional figure. Just days before he flew to London, the Nigerian leader helped bring an emerging crisis in Gambia to a peaceful conclusion.
At home, the West African nation faces a myriad of problems that require the president’s steady and attentive hand. Nigeria’s economy is mired in recession, the oil-rich Niger Delta region is experiencing ongoing unrest, and Boko Haram continue to run rampant in the country’s northeast.
Rumours suggest Mr Buhari may be suffering from Meniere’s disease – a disorder of the inner ear resulting in vertigo, ringing noises and hearing loss. The disease is not fatal but incurable, meaning the president may need many more trips abroad.