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Nigeria says president expected home Friday after weeks away

Nigeria says president expected home Friday after weeks away

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari is expected to return to the country on Friday, his government said late Thursday, after an absence of almost 1 ½ months that raised questions about his health.

Few details have been released about Buhari's medical leave in London. When he left Nigeria on Jan. 19, the government said it was for routine medical checkups and that he would return in early February.

Instead, he remained out of sight for weeks while anxiety rose in Africa's most populous nation, which is grappling with crises including Boko Haram extremist attacks and an economy that last year contracted for the first time in a quarter-century.

The statement Thursday from special adviser Femi Adesina said Buhari's "holiday" had been extended on doctors' recommendations for further testing and rest. It gave no details about the health of the president, who is 74.

The statement also said Buhari expressed appreciation for Nigerians who have "prayed fervently" for him during his absence.

Some in Nigeria have called for Buhari's replacement and expressed anger at taxpayer-funded treatment for top officials overseas while people at home cope with poorly funded health care.

During his long absence, Buhari spoke once by phone with President Donald Trump as the new U.S. leader reached out to a couple of Africa's largest economies. 

Earlier Thursday, the Nigerian president tweeted photographs of his meeting in London with the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Updated : 2021-08-05 23:16 GMT+08:00