By Tobi Soniyi and Dele Ogbodo in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday returned to Abuja after a 13-day medical vacation in the United Kingdom.
He arrived to a rousing welcome by almost all members of his cabinet including two state governors.
The president’s plane touched down at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport at about 5.30 p.m.
Answering questions from journalists after inspecting a guard of honour, Buhari said: “You have seen me. You saw me when I was going. You can do the assessment yourself.
“I am okay. You can see me inspecting the guard of honour. You can see I am taller than you. Do you want to wrestle with me, you can do so.”
The president left the country for the UK on June 6 to rest and take care of a persistent ear infection.
He was scheduled to return last Thursday, however Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo told State House correspondents that the president’s return had been deferred to yesterday.
Prior to his trip, he had cancelled a number of engagements in Lagos, Cross River and Rivers States, fuelling speculation about his health.
However, his arrival yesterday at the Abuja airport resulted in several flight delays.
While international flights were not grounded, local flights scheduled for take off around 5 p.m. were forced to delay their flights for almost an hour.
The delays, THISDAY learnt, was caused by the temporary closure of airspace by the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), which grounded local flights from taking off.
Before his arrival, the road linking the airport to the Airport Road was also closed to traffic with the presence of military and security personnel positioned at strategic positions in and around the airport.
At the presidential wing to welcome the president were members of his cabinet including the Chief of Staff to the President Abba Kyari, as well as the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Ibrahim Magu.
Also at the airport to welcome the president were the Governors of Zamfara State Abdulaziz Yari and Kogi State Yahaya Bello. The Chief of Army Staff was also present.
A retinue of presidency officials and personnel aids were also there to receive him.
Buhari’s media aide, Mr. Femi Adesina, said: “Mr. President is fit and will resume work on Monday.”
The Zamfara governor said: “We thank God for bringing him back to the country. It is a good thing he went on break and returned to his people hale and hearty.”