Nigerian president’s return prompts question from US

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The United States Secretary of State has expressed concern over the return of Nigeria’s incapacitated president Mr. Umaru Yar’Adua whose arrival to the country was under intense secrecy. Mr. Yar’Adua’s condition remains unknown: He has not been seen in public, and it is unclear when he could resume office.

“We hope that President Yar’Adua’s return to Nigeria is not an effort by his senior advisers to upset Nigeria’s stability and create renewed uncertainty in the democratic process,” US Assistant Secretary of State Johnnie Carson said in a statement.

The U.S. welcomed the news of the return of Mr. Yar’Adua whose plane from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, was met at Abuja by an ambulance in the early hours of Wednesday. Reports however suggested the president’s health remained fragile and that he might not be able to discharge the duties of his office.

According to reporters in Abuja, at the scene of the president’s arrival, the convoy that met him at the airport was an ambulance specially fitted with intensive care facilities and no-one is yet reported to have seen or spoken to him.

Nevertheless the president’s spokesman, Olusegun Adeniyi, issued a statement to the Nigerian people affirming that while the president completes his recuperation, Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan will continue to oversee the affairs of state.

“President Yar’Adua wishes to reassure all Nigerians that on account of their unceasing prayers and by the special grace of God, his health has greatly improved,” the spokesperson was quoted.

Despite this remarks by the presidents spokesperson, many Nigerians say they want to see the president on video or in photographs to be convinced he is not dead.

President Yar’Adua has not been seen in public since his health trip to Jeddah last November to be treated for lingering kidney and heart problems.

Acting in his place, Vice president Jonathan, has since made considerable efforts, including reshuffling ministers, pledging to tackle power shortages and forging ahead with an amnesty for militants in the oil-rich Niger Delta.

Behind the scenes, analysts say there has been intense politicking and shoving for clout as politicians look ahead for elections due by April next year.

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