Nigerians are increasingly worried about Mr Buhari’s health, hoping that he does not die in office like President Umaru Yar’Adua did in 2010, after a lengthy illness which saw him fly to Germany and Saudi Arabia for treatment.

The latest concerns have been fuelled by the fact that Mr Buhari, 74, missed the last two cabinet meetings and failed to attend Friday’s Muslim prayers, even though the mosque is about a minute’s walk from his office and residence.

The government has shared little information about his health, and a journalist with a leading newspaper was thrown out of State House by the president’s chief security officer after he reported on the latest concerns.

Mr Buhari’s media aides distanced themselves from the officer’s actions, and got a more senior security officer to overturn the ban on the reporter attending State House press conferences and other events.