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Did Buhari promise not to embark on medical trips as president?

Claim: A WhatsApp message claims President Buhari said he won’t embark on foreign medical trips.

Did Buhari promise not to embark on medical trips as president?

President Buhari never said he would not embark on foreign medical trips.

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As news about President Muhammadu Buhari’s proposed medical trip is making the rounds, a viral image which claims he promised not embark on foreign medical trips as president, has emerged.

President Buhari’s office recently announced that he would “proceed to London for routine medical checks that would last for a maximum of two weeks,” after his three-day official visit to Kenya.

The image, which has been shared repeatedly on WhatsApp, claims Mr. Buhari, a retired Army general, made the statement while delivering a lecture at The Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House, on February 21st 2015, before he was elected Nigeria’s President.

“What is the difference between me and those who elected us to represent them, absolutely nothing. Why should the Nigerian President not fly with other Nigerian public? Why do I need to embark on a foreign trip as a president with a huge crowd with public funds? Why do I need to go for foreign medical trip if we cannot make our hospital functional? Why do we need to send our children to school abroad if we cannot develop our university to compete with the foreign ones?” President Buhari allegedly said.

Did Buhari promise not to embark on medical trips as president?
Screenshot of the viral claim

The claim was also circulated on social media, particularly Facebook.

President Buhari’s several foreign medical travels have often been criticised as “frivolous and unnecessary” by Nigerians. 


DUBAWA confirmed that Muhammadu Buhari indeed delivered a lecture during the African Programme Meeting at Chatham House, London, on February 26, 2015. However, this is contrary to the viral image which claims the lecture held on February 21, 2015.

Transcripts of Buhari’s lecture, “Prospects for Democratic Consolidation in Africa: Nigeria’s Transition”, obtained by DUBAWA, did not contain the statement credited to him in the viral image. Buhari’s only reference to a foreign hospital during the lecture came when he jokingly shared an instance when he heard rumours of his death in a London hospital.

“Somebody announced me dead yesterday. I had a call from Maiduguri that somebody was listening to a friend crying saying Buhari had died in hospital in London. So he called me and I laughed my head off. So certainly I would be expecting too much if I don’t expect people are wishing me dead. I am very pleased I am fit. My doctors have declared me fit and I am going back for the final onslaught on PDP,” he said.

DUBAWA found that this viral claim only resurfaced, having previously been circulated in 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021.

Did Buhari promise not to embark on medical trips as president?
The claim was also widely shared in 2018

There is also no record of any other event where Buhari delivered a speech at Chatham House on February 21, 2015.

Presidential aide, Femi Adesina, who refuted the claims said it was not part of the text of the lecture at all. He described it as a “concoction by haters and agents of unity”, constructed  to diminish the reputation of President Muhammadu Buhari before millions of Nigerians who love him.


The viral claim that President Muhammadu Buhari promised not to embark on foreign medical trips in his speech at Chatham House London in 2015, is false. Transcripts of his speech at Chatham House have no record of such a statement.

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