April 15, 2024

President Bola Tinubu has returned to Nigeria after a two-week “private visit” to France.

The president arrived in Abuja, the nation’s capital city, on Tuesday night.

Some members of his cabinet who received him include Femi Gbajabiamila, chief of staff (CoS); George Akume, secretary general of the federation (SGF); Nuhu Ribadu, national security adviser (NSA); and Nyesom Wike, minister of the federal capital territory (FCT).

Ajuri Ngelale, the presidential spokesperson, had announced Tinubu’s visit to France on January 24 without citing a reason.

Ngelale added that the president would return to the country in the first week of February.

The president’s absence has been met with criticism from opposition groups and other concerned parties.

Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar had accused Tinubu of fiddling with Nigeria in the face of worsening insecurity.

Atiku said the country needed 24/7 leadership and asked Tinubu to “step aside from office if the shoes are too big”.

In response, the presidency chided the former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate in last year’s elections, saying he is still nursing the hangover of his electoral defeat.

The presidency added that Atiku latches on to any opportunity to attack Tinubu and asked him to stop playing cheap politics.

Femi Falana, senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), also faulted Tinubu for his trip to France.

Falana said the president’s visit to France was embarrassing to Nigeria, especially as the French country did not recognise his presence.

Shortly after winning the presidential election last year, Tinubu departed for Paris.

Tunde Rahman, his media aide at the time, said the trip was to enable Tinubu to “rest and prepare for lesser hajj in Saudi Arabia and Ramadan fasting”.

However, a report said the president was undergoing a medical checkup at the American Hospital of Paris Neuilly-sur-Seine.

Months later, after attending the global financial pact summit in France, the presidency announced that Tinubu headed to London on a “short private visit”.

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