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How Buhari's Dementia Keeps Nigeria Rudderless As Security, Economy Buckle

With this incapacity, Buhari appears to be unable to make rational decisions, a worrisome development in the face of lingering insecurity and economic hardship in the country.

President Muhammadu Buhari's illness has taken a darker dimension with the revelation that he has dementia, a mental sickness that causes memory loss and impaired judgment.

With this incapacity, Buhari appears to be unable to make rational decisions, a worrisome development in the face of lingering insecurity and economic hardship in the country.  


The consequence is that apart from the inability to attend to urgent national issues and take significant decisions for the country, the president is perceived as not being aware of basic decisions supposedly taken by him.  

His incapacity has led to numerous conflicts among power brokers in his government.

Before his dementia worsened, Buhari had been treating other undisclosed illnesses which had forced him to jet out of the country at least for six documented times for treatment, spending about 180 days since 2015 when he assumed office.

The following is a timeline of the President's trips for medical attention since 2015.

On February 5 to 10, 2016, Buhari took a six-day vacation in the United Kingdom, saying that his doctors lived in England.

Between June 6 and 19, 2016, Buhari went on a 10-day medical trip to England for an ear infection surgery. He extended his trip by three days to rest.

On January 19, 2017, the President was back to London again on a medical vacation.

On February 5, 2017, he wrote to the National Assembly, seeking an extension of his London medical leave. Later on March 10, 2017, Buhari returned to Nigeria but didn't resume work immediately at Aso Villa. The presidency had claimed that "he was working from home."

On May 7, 2017, Buhari embarked on a trip to London for another medical vacation. He returned after 104 days – the longest he had stayed outside the country. He returned to Nigeria on August 19, 2017, and he took time to resume work because his handlers said rats had reportedly damaged furniture in his office.

On May 8, 2018, Buhari went to London for a four-day "medical review."

Then on April 26, 2019, Buhari again left for the UK on a 10-day private visit to seek medical care. He came back to the country on May 5

The COVID-19 pandemic has probably prevented Buhari from travelling abroad for medical treatment, but a top source had told SaharaReporters that the president has severe dementia. A day after over 300 students were kidnapped from his home state while Buhari was in Daura, he visited his livestock farm instead of visiting the school.

"The moment it happened on Friday night, President Buhari was told. But due to dementia, he had forgotten," the source told SaharaReporters.

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Buhari's deteriorating dementia reportedly made him incoherent and forced his handlers to prevent him from addressing the National Assembly last week after he had promised to do so.

The same condition had prevented him from replacing the service chiefs who have occupied office since July 2015 and have failed to make an impact on security.

On Wednesday, a former Nigerian lawmaker in the Second Republic and elder statesman, Junaid Mohammed, also noted that Buhari should resign because he could not handle his affairs, not to talk of managing the affairs of 200 million people.

Mohammed told SaharaReporters that President Buhari is not physically and mentally fit to lead a country like Nigeria.

"Being the President of the country, he doesn't have a private right to mislead the people of this country. If he is sick, the people of Nigeria are entitled to know. If he is unable to perform his duties as elected President, then the people have to know.

"Five years after my statement and public altercation with the Presidency, it's now clear that the man is sick, he is not only physically ill; he is also mentally sick. He is completely mentally infirm. He is in no position to handle his affairs not to talk of handling the affairs of 200 million people. His handlers know he is not in control of the state. He is not even in control of his family affairs," Mohammed had said.