President Muhammadu Buhari arrived the country Friday at about 4 a.m., 51 days after he left the country on a medical vacation, a breaking news flashed online by THISDAY about an hour ago said.
However, when News Express, an online newspaper, called Femi Adesina, a presidential spokesperson, some minutes past 5am, he neither confirmed nor denied the story but claimed ignorance of the development.
The THISDAY report claimed that Buhari landed at the Kaduna International Airport (Abuja Airport was closed down for repairs on Wednesday night) and was immediately choppered to the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
Woken up by News Express and asked to confirm the development, Adesina, who in a statement last night broke the news of his principal’s expected return today, replied: “I don’t know. You can see that I am still in bed.”
“So are you saying that the report is not true?” News Express asked, to which Adesina replied: “Don’t try to put words into my mouth. It is like pregnancy; you can never tell. He is expected today. This time is already today.”
Another report by Daily Trust said that President Buhari’s plane was expected to touch down at the Kaduna International Airport by 5:30 this morning.
The paper said that there was an unusual movement of security personnel within Kaduna on Thursday night. It quoted “credible sources” as saying that they were placed on notice about the use of the Kaduna airport by a ‘very important visitor’ since around 4:30 p.m. yesterday.
“A competent source at the Kaduna Government House told newsman in the evening to be at the airport as early as 5:30 a.m. for the arrival of ‘a very important visitor’. The source while refusing to disclose the identity of the visitor said he would be flying in from abroad.
“However, many people in Kaduna understood the “important visitor” to be Buhari. This was further reinforced by the unusual high number of state and federal government officials at the airport,” the report said.
The paper reported that security has been beefed up at the airport while airport official have been put on high alert ahead of the President’s arrival.
“Security within Kaduna town has also been beefed up as police men have been placed at strategic points in the town,” it further said.
President Buhari travelled to London after obtaining parliamentary approval for a 10-day vacation but later wrote to request indefinite extension following the advice of his doctors after undergoing medical tests.