How Nigeria President Yar'Adua made his stealth return
Nigeria President Umaru Yar'Adua flew into the capital in the dead of night Wednesday after undergoing medical treatment in Saudi Arabia for nearly three months.
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Two unmarked jets landed in the dead of night at the sealed-off international airport in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, to be met by a fleet of SUVs and an ambulance.
Within minutes, that 23-vehicle convoy was speeding along the deserted highway – with armed officers stationed every 300 meters – toward Abuja and, eventually, to the presidential palace at Aso Rock.
But how is Yar'Adua's health?
“I have not seen [Yar'Adua], so I cannot say what his condition is,” says Mary Ikoku, special assistant to the minister of information. “But he arrived in what I can call an air ambulance, and he was taken to Aso Rock in an ambulance, so I don’t imagine that he is in the best of health.”
There have been persistent reports of deliveries of state-of-the-art medical equipment to Yar’Adua’s quarters to care for his heart ailment. Sources in Nigeria said that it was understood that he was taken to a "clinic" within the presidential complex.
Ms. Ikoku refused to comment on that.
But she added that it was "unlikely" that Yar’Adua would attend a hastily convened meeting due for Wednesday afternoon to be chaired by Mr. Jonathan and attended by the country’s cabinet.
Yar’Adua’s spokesman Olusegun Adeniyi said in a statement that Jonathan would continue to run state affairs while the president recuperates.
"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," Mr Adeniyi said in the statement.