Thursday, 6 May 2010

Nigerian President Dead!?

Nigerian President Yar'Adua is dead, says state TV

Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua died at his presidential villa on Wednesday, state TV has announced.

A presidential aide and the information minister confirmed his death to the BBC.

Mr Yar'Adua, who became president in 2007, had been ill for some time, and had not been seen in public for months.

Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan was accepted as acting president in February.

The Nigerian Television Authority interrupted its normal programming to announce the news, in a brief statement early on Thursday.

The announcer said: "The president and commander-in-chief of the armed forces, Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, died a few hours ago at the presidential villa.

"Security aides notified the national security adviser, General Anou Bissou, who immediately called the acting president. The late president has been ill for some time."

Heart condition

Reports from Nigeria said Mr Yar'Adua died between 2100 (2000 GMT) and 2200 (2100 GMT) on Wednesday in the capital, Abuja.

In November, Mr Yar'Adua went to a hospital in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, for several months, during which time he was not heard from, apart from a BBC interview.

He told the BBC by telephone in January that he was recovering and hoped with "tremendous progress" to resume his duties.

A presidential spokesman said at the time that he was being treated for acute pericarditis, an inflammation of the lining around the heart.

His long absence and the lack of detailed information about his health led to a political limbo in Nigeria that was only filled when Mr Jonathan was named acting president.

Mr Yar'Adua returned to Nigeria later in February, but Mr Jonathan remained as acting president.

He will now be sworn in as president, reports say.

There had been tension between the two men's supporters and in March Mr Jonathan dissolved the cabinet.

Elections were scheduled for next year.

Mr Yar'Adua's election in 2007 marked the first transfer of power from one civilian president to another since Nigeria's independence in 1960.

He came to power promising a long list of reforms, including tackling corruption and reforming the inadequate power sector and the flawed electoral system.

But the area in which analysts say he made the most progress was in tackling the unrest in the oil-rich Niger Delta, by offering an amnesty to rebels.

Source: BBC

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