Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari signed a letter to the Nigerian legislature on Monday, formally announcing that he has returned to the duties of his office.
The letter followed Buhari’s return to Nigeria after a medical leave in London that began on May 7, and a televised address to the nation that appealed for unity as he assured them of his ability to continue as president.
“I am pleased to be back on home soil among my brothers and sisters,” Buhari said. “In the course of my stay in the United Kingdom, I have been kept in daily touch with events at home.”
Yet much of the national conversation, he said, expressed divisions in Nigeria that he wished to counter. His return comes as the nation works toward economic recovery while struggling with continued security issues and political unrest.
“Nigeria’s unity is settled and not negotiable,” Buhari said. “We shall not allow irresponsible elements to start trouble and when things get bad they run away and saddle others with the responsibility of bringing back order, if necessary with their blood. Every Nigerian has the right to live and pursue his business anywhere in Nigeria without let or hindrance.”
Buhari said the nation will continue its fight against Boko Haram terrorism, but also ethnic violence fueled by “political mischief makers,” while pursuing economic security goals.
“I am so glad to be home,” the president concluded.
The return of the ailing president was welcomed by Nigerians, both political friend and foe, including the “Return or Resign” protesters who began this month to demand a decision from the administration. It was celebrated across the country.
This trip for medical treatment was the second extended absence this year attributed to his health, with Acting President Yemi Osinbajo guiding the nation during both leaves. Neither Buhari nor any Nigerian official has made a public statement explaining a diagnosis, or clearly shared information about why he is being treated.
There has been significant uncertainty about Buhari’s ability to lead in a nation that’s become impatient with that lack of transparency.
Image: Government of Nigeria