President Muhammadu Buhari will on Tuesday leave the country for Saudi Arabia and later proceed to France and Scotland where he is expected to begin a fresh round of medical checkup, SaharaReporters has learnt.
The state house source said Buhari will spend up to two weeks on his medical tour but his first point of call is Saudi Arabia for Umrah, otherwise known as the Lesser Hajj.
SaharaReporters learnt that the President after performing the Umrah will then go to Europe for his medical examinations.
In August this year, Saudi Arabia had announced plans to gradually begin receiving Umrah pilgrimage requests from abroad for vaccinated pilgrims starting after about a year and a half of not receiving overseas worshippers due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It was announced that with a capacity that would rise to 2 million pilgrims from 60,000 pilgrims per month, Mecca and Medina will start welcoming visitors from abroad to their mosques while maintaining COVID-19 precautionary measures.
Last week, it was also reported that the Grand Mosque in Makkah was ready to receive pilgrims and worshippers at full capacity, just as the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah lifted the restrictions placed upon the performance of Umrah and Prayers in the Rawdah Al Shareefah.
Top sources confirmed to SaharaReporters that Buhari would leave Nigeria on Tuesday for his trip for pilgrimage and medical treatments.
“Baba (Buhari) is going to Saudi Arabia, France and Glasgow from Tuesday. The date is set and part of it is for his medicals. The trip will not exceed two weeks but the first stop is Saudi Arabia. He will go for the Umrah before heading for Paris and Glasgow,” one of the sources revealed.
President Buhari would be visiting Glasgow, Scotland; Paris, France, and Dubai, the United Arab Emirates before the end of 2021.
“Buhari to visit Glasgow, Scotland, Paris, France and Dubai, UAE before the end of 2021 amidst strong rumour of third term agenda,” a source had said.
Meanwhile, the President’s health has been a source of concern for many Nigerians.
SaharaReporters in December 2020 had reported how the inability of President Buhari to make critical decisions on insecurity and the depressed economy had become worrisome to many Nigerians – a situation which his dementia and other undisclosed illnesses he is treating could have contributed to.
It had been reported that his medical conditions had forced him to jet out of the country at least six documented times for treatment, spending more than 200 days since 2015 when he assumed office in his first term.
SaharaReporters had examined a timeline of the president’s trips abroad for medical treatment since he assumed office on May 29, 2015.
In summary, Buhari spent 19 days in 2016, 155 days in 2017, and four days in 2018 getting treatment in the UK. In 2019, the president embarked on a 10-day private trip to the UK suspected to be for medical reasons.
In 2020, the president could not make his trip due to the coronavirus pandemic which caused a halt in flight operations. In 2021, the President had also been out of the country to London, UK for medical treatment.
In the first three years of his first tenure from May 2015 to May 2019, he was outside the country for a combined 404 days – one year and 39 days in 33 countries, which was both for official and medical purposes.