The Presidency on Sunday said there was no truth in media reports (The PUNCH not included) that President Goodluck Jonathan was flown to Germany on Friday for medical attention.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, said this in a telephone interview with our correspondent from Germany, where the President had been since Friday on a “private visit.”
Abati had last Thursday issued a three-paragraph statement, indicating that Jonathan, with a few aides, was travelling to Germany on a private visit and should be expected back this week.
Media reports however had it that the President had been taken to a German hospital after he suddenly fallen ill.
According to the reports, an earlier planned dinner for members of the just-concluded 2014 National Conference on Thursday had to be cancelled because of the sudden illness of the President.
But Abati told our correspondent on the telephone that the reports were “the figments of the writers’ imagination.”
He said the President had the right to embark on private visits and that he was not only hale and hearty but also treating files in his hotel room.
The presidential spokesman said he sent out a statement, a video and audio on Saturday showing Jonathan as speaking on the telephone with members of the national under-20 women’s football team, the Falconets, asking them to go all out for victory against their German counterparts in Sunday’s final of the 2014 FIFA under-20 Women’s World Cup in Canada.
Abati said, “Before leaving Nigeria, I issued a statement that the President will be embarking on a private visit to Germany with a few of his aides.
“On Saturday, I sent out a statement that the President spoke with the Falconets on the telephone. I also sent out the video and audio of his conversation with the players where he promised to stay awake and watch the final match.
“The NTA and some other broadcasting stations aired the video and audio.
“There are also photographs out there showing the President when he was leaving Nigeria and when he was arriving Germany.
“The President is hale and hearty. In fact, he is treating files in his hotel room.
“Are these not enough proofs that Mr. President is not sick as they want Nigerians to believe?
“It is important to note that the publisher of the newspaper that has been writing this false report is a chieftain of an opposition party who also have an ambition to be President.”
Meanwhile, our correspondent learnt that Jonathan would be returning to Nigeria on Monday (today).
Abati had in his Thursday statement indicated that the President would be back in the country early this week.
Jonathan had in December last year embarked on a similar private visit to Germany though many also said then that the President had gone in search for treatment for ill health.
Jonathan’s wife, Patience, had in 2012 admitted in a German hospital for an undisclosed ailment. She left Nigeria unannounced in August that year and spent about seven weeks abroad.
Before the woman announced to the nation that she almost died in Germany, her media aides had denied that she suffered ill health.