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Nigerian President’s Wife: His Health ‘Not as Bad as People Think’


In this photo released by the Nigeria State House, Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari, left, and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, right, smile before a meeting at the presidential palace in Abuja, Nigeria, Monday, March 13, 2017. (Sunday Aghaeze/Nigeria State House via AP)

Concerns about the health of Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari have increased after he missed another cabinet meeting this week.

It was the third straight cabinet meeting that Buhari did not attend, says the Associated Press.

Earlier this year, the 74-year-old president took six weeks of medical leave in London. Aides to Buhari said he returned to Nigeria in March, but often works from home.

His wife, Aisha, used the social media site Twitter to reassure the Nigerian people about her husband.

“I wish to inform everyone that his health is not as bad as it's being perceived, Meanwhile, he continues to carry out his responsibilities.”

The president's office has not identified his medical problems. Last month, the office said Buhari remains in charge of the government, but added that his doctors advised "on his taking things slowly."​

On his return in March, Buhari discussed blood transfusions and said he has not been so sick in decades. But he offered no other details.

On Wednesday, his office said the vice president, Yemi Osinbajo, led last Wednesday’s cabinet meeting.

Continuing questions about the president’s health come at a time of major problems facing the country.

Nigeria continues to face a rebellion by Boko Haram militants. There are severe food shortages in the country’s northeast, and the economy slowed in 2016 for the first time in about 25 years.

More tweets from Nigeria’s first lady

Aisha Buhari wrote four tweets about her husband this week.

One expressed thanks to the Nigerian people.

She wrote, "I thank all Nigerians for their concern, love and prayers over my husband's health status.

The reaction to her messages on Twitter was mixed.

One person wrote, “Thanks for this information. God heal our president and long live Nigeria.”

But another message raised doubts about how sick the president really is:

“If Buhari's health is not as bad as people said, Let Buhari show himself to Nigeria and perform his duty…”

I’m Jonathan Evans.

Bruce Alpert reported on this story for VOA Learning English based on reports by the Associated Press, Reuters and other sources. Mario Ritter was the editor.

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Words in This Story

leave - n. a period of time when someone has special permission to be away from a job

reassure - v. to make someone feel less afraid, upset, or doubtful

perceive - v. to of someone in a certain way

blood transfusion - n. a medical treatment in which someone's blood is put into the body of another person

decade - n. a period of 10 years

status - n. the current state of someone or something

heal - v. to become healthy or well again

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