There were speculations on Wednesday over the mission of the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Dieziani Alison-Madueke, to the United Kingdom.
The minister is believed to have travelled to the UK unannounced last week. She is not on leave, The PUNCH learnt.
While some sources in Abuja claimed that she was in the UK to receive medical attention, others said she went for an undisclosed private matter.
A source at the ministry told our correspondent that the minister was not ill.
When contacted, Director of Public Affairs at the ministry, Mr. Kingsley Agha, said he (Agha) was hospitalised and had been barred by his doctor from answering calls.
Another source told our correspondent that Agha was part of those that received Alison-Madueke when she was in Anambra State on Thursday for an official assignment. The source insisted that the minister was not in any hospital.
Alison-Madueke had earlier on Wednesday posted on her Facebook wall that she was hale and hearty.
“On the contrary to recently published articles concerning my health, I haven’t been hospitalised in London. Both my family and I are well,” she wrote.
But, she was absent at the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Wednesday.
Although no reason was given for her absence, there were fears that it might not be unconnected with the report by an online news site that she was currently receiving medical treatment at an undisclosed London hospital.
On Tuesday, Alison-Madueke did not turn up to make presentation on the budget performance of her ministry to President Goodluck Jonathan as scheduled.
Ministers who had taken their turns before the President later briefed State House correspondents at the end of their presentation.
News had gone round that Alison-Madueke would take her turn on Tuesday.
But fears that she would not come for the presentation were confirmed when the Economic Management Team meeting started without her showing up.
He said, “She is not a regular public office holder who has a specific duration for vacation. Assuming that she has a specific duration for vacation, then we could have said the vacation would end on a particular day and she will return on a particular day.
“But as it is, she can decide to return anytime she feels she has rested enough.”
Meanwhile, The PUNCH learnt that the Presidency had been unwilling to issue a statement on the health of Jonathan’s wife for fear that “mischief makers” would misconstrue it.
Osinlu, had earlier on Monday promised journalists that a statement would be issued on the matter “in order to save ourselves of the stress of responding to the widespread enquiries from our friends in the media one-by-one.”
A source close to both the media teams of Jonathan and his wife told our correspondent that the statement already prepared to clear the air on the speculations was stopped at the point of dissemination by a senior Presidency media aide.
The presidential aide was said to have argued that no matter how they labour to explain the real situation to Nigerians, mischief makers would still turn the statement against the President.
He reiterated his earlier position that the report that Patience was airlifted in an air ambulance was a figment of the imagination of the writers.