By Yemi Adebowale
President Muhammadu Buhari, worn out with travel fatigue and a series of UN meeting itineraries overslept and arrived late at a meeting with Pope Francis and was subsequently locked out, BREAKING TIMES can report.
President Buhari who also missed a very important event on Boko Haram and internally displaced persons (IDPs) was denied access into the meeting with Pope Francis at the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York on Friday. Buhari arrived late owing to fatigue and excess sleep, an informed source familiar with the details disclosed to BREAKING TIMES on Monday.
According to the source who spoke to BREAKING TIMES on condition of anonymity, contrary to reports in some section of the Nigerian media that the Nigerian Mission inexplicably messed up the itinerary of President Buhari, the President actually slept off owing to travel and work fatigue.
“It is rather unfortunate that the Nigerian Mission is being blamed for the President’s lateness to the UN meeting with Pope Francis. This is not the first time the Perm Mission would be hosting a Nigerian President for the UN General Assembly. We have been doing this before without any glitches. The truth is the President was not available but the team was ready. He actually almost did not want to attend when he eventually woke up but senior officials of the Mission impressed it on him to attend but by the time he got there the session had already commenced”, a top official of Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs ministry who did not want to be named told BREAKING TIMES on Monday.
It will be recalled that in June 2015, a meeting between President Buhari and All Progressives Congress (APC) Senators could not hold as scheduled following the failure of the President to attend the meeting. The meeting, which was to hold at the International Conference Centre (ICC) Abuja failed as President Buhari, slept off upon his arrival in Nigeria from the G7 Summit in Germany.
Meanwhile, Nigeria was notably missing at a crucial United Nations meeting where countries affected by the Boko Haram crisis sought assistance to deal with millions of displaced people.
At the meeting, U.N. Aid Chief, Stephen O’Brien, said most of those displaced by the lingering insurgency were from Nigeria.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in a statement said President Muhammadu Buhari was committed to the rehabilitation and well-being of persons affected by insurgency.
He said Mr. Buhari held discussions with the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, the King of Spain, Don Felipe VI and former British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown.
“President Buhari is handling his duty as leader of the Nigerian delegation to this year’s General Assembly with the greatest possible diligence and will certainly not tolerate any tardiness on the part of the delegation in seizing every possible opportunity to advance Nigeria’s interests,” Mr. Shehu said.
“The meeting at which Nigeria was reportedly absent was not one of the official events of the United Nations for which President Muhammadu Buhari and his modest delegation are in New York.”
He said Nigeria was represented at an important side event devoted to the North-East summoned by the UN Population Fund, UNFPA on “Building Stability and Resilience in Nigeria and the Lake Chad Basin Countries.”