Nigerian President Yar’Adua is dead, says an aide

BBC

Mr Yar’Adua had suffered from heart and kidney conditions

Fifty-eight-year-old Nigerian President Umaru Yar’Adua is dead, a presidential aide has told the BBC.

A spokesman, who did not want to be named, said Mr Yar’Adua died on Wednesday, although there has been no official announcement yet.

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

After much wrangling, Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan was accepted as acting president in February.

The acting president has been informed of the death and the government will make a statement shortly, state television reported on Thursday, according to Reuters news agency.

Reports from Nigeria said Mr Yar’Adua died between 2100 (2000 GMT) and 2200 (2100 GMT) on Wednesday at his presidential residence 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.

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