Thursday, May 6, 2010
Presidential aides and state television announced yesterday that the Nigerian president, Umaru Yar’Adua, died.
Yar’Adua ascended to the presidency in 2007, but was later taken ill, and had not been publicly seen for the last few months. He was hospitalised in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to get inflammated tissue around his heart treated; it was later diagnosed as acute pericarditis.
According to the BBC, Nigerian reports indicated the president died between 21.00 and 22.00 local time (20.00 to 21.00 UTC) in Abuja, the capital.
Goodluck Jonathan, the vice-president, became the acting president this February; under the constitution, he is to now be sworn in formally and will appoint a new vice-president.
The Nigerian Television Authority broadcast the news, saying: “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.”
Ima Niboro, a spokesman for Goodluck Jonathan, commented: “The acting president is very sad with what has happened. The nation is mourning.” Tomorrow is to be a national holiday, and Nigeria will observe a week of mourning for the deceased president.
In his statement, acting president Jonathan said: “Nigeria has lost the jewel on its crown, and even the heavens mourn with our nation tonight.”