July 12, 2017 / 9:35 AM / 14 days ago

Nigerian vice president back home after London visit to ailing president

2 Min Read

Nigeria's Vice President Yemi Osinbajo speaks at the Regional Protection Dialogue meeting on Lake Chad basin in Abuja, Nigeria June 8, 2016.Afolabi Sotunde/Files

LAGOS (Reuters) - Nigeria's Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has returned to Abuja after a brief and unexplained visit to President Muhammadu Buhari, who is on sick leave in London, his spokesman said on Twitter on Wednesday.

The unannounced and brief trip has fuelled speculation over Buhari's illness, the details of which have not been made public, and whether he will be able to stand in the 2019 elections.

Osinbajo's spokesman did not give a reason for the visit and declined to comment when asked.

When Buhari left Abuja for London on May 7, his second trip abroad for health reason, he handed over power to Osinbajo, who according to the constitution would assume the presidency should Buhari be unable to continue.

Osinbajo is already being talked about in the capital as a potential nominee for the 2019 presidential elections.

The vice president "is now back in Abuja from London" and will be presiding over Wednesday's regular cabinet meeting, the vice president's spokesman said on his official Twitter account.

Some Nigerians took poorly to the news of Osinbajo's visit.

"The worst sceptics of Buhari's government never imagined this level of rudderless, adrift disaster we have in our hands today," said Twitter user @obinna_nlebedum.

A thin-looking Buhari, 74, was last seen in Nigeria on state television welcoming a group of 82 girls released by Islamist militant group Boko Haram, hours before he flew to Britain.

Buhari's first trip to London January and lasted nearly two months.

Reporting by Ulf Laessing in Lagos; Writing by Paul Carsten; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky

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