PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari’s nephew and chief enforcer in the presidency Mallam Mamman Daura has been flown to the UK for urgent medical treatment aboard a private jet after he was reported to have suffered from respiratory difficulties.
Mallam Daura, 79, is considered one of the closest persons to the president, with a say in virtually every decision that is made in Aso Rock. He and the former chief of staff to the president Abba Kyari, were labelled the leaders of the cabal in the presidency and were leading hate figures in government circles as ministers and officials detested what was seen as their meddling.
Mr Kyari died from a Covid-19 related illness a few months ago and there are now fears that Alhaji Daura may be facing the same fate. A former journalist, Mallam Daura is said to have had a history of renal crisis and had regularly visited the UK for medical checks.
Aminu Kurfi, one of his close confidants, however, denied that there was any crisis, saying Alhaji Daura only flew to London for a routine medical check-up. He added that Mallam Daura often travels for medical checks with his long-term doctors based in the UK.
Mr Kurfi said: “The whole world saw Mallam Mamman Daura without any sign of illness on Tuesday when he attended the funeral prayer for late journalist, Wada Maida. I was one of those who saw him off at the airport and he called me when they landed in London yesterday.
“At 80 years, it is natural that he will from time to time undertake medical checks. If he were sick and the sickness is Covid-19, do you think UK authorities will allow him to travel there at this time?”
He added that as a free citizen, Mallam Daura is free to seek for medical services or opinion anywhere. On March 23, Nigeria suspended local and international flights to and from the country as one of the ways of curtailing the spread of coronavirus which has so far infected over 50,000 Nigerians and killed 985 people.
Mr Kurfi, objected to suggestions that Mallam Daura was abusing his position to get healthcare abroad at a time when other Nigerians could not, saying he is being targeted by a section of the media for freely expressing his opinion regarding the 2023 election. In a recent BBC interview, Mallam Daura urged Nigerians to de-emphasize the rotation of the nation’s presidency between the north and south of the country, saying competence should take priority over rotation.
He was widely criticized for that opinion with many Nigerians suggesting he was laying the foundation for the north to hold on to the presidency beyond President Buhari’s tenure. Mr Kurfi added that there was nothing wrong in advising that Nigerians should go for competence and not necessarily where one comes from in electing leaders.