The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed on Wednesday disowned media reports suggesting that President Muhammadu Buhari was ill and that was the reason for his absence at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting.
Briefing State House correspondents at the end of the meeting presided by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, the Information Minister said that the President was hail and healthy and carrying out other state functions during the FEC meeting.
He was with the Minister of State for Health, Osagie Ehinare and Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Jubril.
The Information Minister said that the absence of Buhari at FEC didn’t mean that he was not working.
He said; “I want to make some remarks on what I think is trending. Clearly when you came in this morning, Mr. President was not in the chamber and the Vice President did preside over the council meeting. Understandably, that has sparked controversies and agitations in the mind of the people.
I just want to make this clear that Mr. President is in town, Mr. President is attending to other issues.
“Mr. President looked at the agenda, a very light agenda, and decided that the Vice president should preside. It is not unusual for the kind of interest that has been shown, especially given the fact that Mr. President was away for a while on medical treatment. We are not surprised that people will be wondering if the President is ill again.
“He is not ill, he is not sick. I am sure that later in the day or tomorrow morning he will be back in the office. I just want to clear that misconception. It’s not unusual, even if the President is hail and hearty and everything going on well, for the Vice President to preside over the FEC meeting.
“The fact that Mr. President is not in the office does not mean he is not working. I have just been told that the Secretary to the Government of the Federation is with him at the residence and they are working. The fact that you did not see him in the office, did not mean he is not working at all,” he added
Ehinare disclosed that 420,000 persons have been vaccinated against meningitis type C in Zamfara State.
While there are 4,637 suspected cases in the country, the Minister said that 489 persons have died from the disease.
He said that 823,000 vaccines are expected this week from the United Kingdom.
The Minister of State for Environment said that FEC ratified the universal convention banning the use of mercury.
He said that Nigeria was among the 128 countries that signed the convention while 50 countries are needed to ratify it to make it effective.
So far, he said, about 40 countries have ratified the convention.