The Presidency on Sunday debunked reports in a national daily that President Goodluck Jonathan was flown to Germany on Friday for medical reasons.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, debunked the report in a telephone interview from Germany, where the president had been since Friday on a “private visit”.
Abati had last Thursday issued a terse statement, indicating that Jonathan, with a few aides, was traveling to Germany on a private visit and should be expected back this week.
No sooner had the Presidency issued the statement on Jonathan’s ‘private visit’ to Germany than a newspaper reported that the president had taken ill and was going to the Western European country to seek medical attention.
According to the reports, an earlier planned dinner for members of the just-concluded 2014 National Conference on Thursday had to be cancelled at the dying minute because of the sudden illness of the president.
But the presidential spokesman described the reports as “the figments of the writers’ imagination”.
Abati maintained that the president had the right to embark on private visits and that he was not only hale and hearty but also attending to official files in his hotel room.
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”.
Recall that Jonathan had in December last year embarked on a similar private visit to Germany, which led to speculations that he had gone there in search of treatment for an undisclosed ailment.