No visitors for ailing President

February 22, 2010 12:00 am

, RIYADH, Feb 22 – Ailing Nigerian President Umaru Yar\’Adua\’s doctors are refusing to allow visitors from Abuja to see him in his Jeddah hospital, Nigeria\’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia said on Monday.

But Abdullah Aminchi said he himself had visited Yar\’Adua on Saturday and that the condition of the president, who has not been seen in public for three months, was improving after treatment for a heart ailment.

"I saw him the day before yesterday … He\’s really feeling better now," Aminchi told AFP.

Aminchi confirmed that a delegation of senior legislators were not allowed to see Yar\’Adua earlier this month despite coming to Jeddah on a mission to gauge the health of the 58-year-old president, who checked into King Faisal Specialist Hospital on November 23 for an acute heart condition.

He said it was Yar\’Adua\’s doctors and not Saudi authorities, as some Nigerian officials have charged, who had denied access to the ailing president.

"It is only the doctors assigned to him who are preventing them (visitors) from seeing the president," despite a green light from the Saudi authorities, Aminchi told AFP.

Amid fears of a political vacuum in Africa\’s most populous country, its parliament voted in early February to hand over power to Vice President Goodluck Jonathan until Yar\’Adua recovers.

However, according to news reports, Yar\’Adua loyalists are seeking to challenge Jonathan\’s installation as acting president.

Aminchi has regularly given assurances that Yar\’Adua\’s condition is improving, saying in mid-January that he was awaiting doctors\’ permission to return home. But there have been no official reports on his health.


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