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Hospital may discharge Yar'Adua this week


President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua may be discharged from hospital this week following his recovery from a heart condition, THISDAY has learnt.

But his return date to Nigeria is still uncertain as it is dependent on his post-hospitalisation recuperation, a source informed the newspaper last night, adding that various options are still being considered.

One option is for the President to stay back for a while in Saudi Arabia for his doctors to monitor his progress, in which case he would leave the hospital and stay at one of the King's guest houses where he normally lodges anytime he visits the country.

The other option, according to the source, is for the President to return to Nigeria for recuperation, in which case the doctors may be flown into the country to monitor his progress for a while.

Although Yar'Adua is said to have favoured returning home at the earliest possible time, THISDAY learnt that he is being advised to stay back for now for the doctors to monitor his progress.

The 58-year-old Nigerian leader was flown to King Faisal Specialist Hospital in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, three weeks ago after complaining of chest pains and has been diagnosed with acute pericarditis, an inflammation of the membrane around the heart.

Yesterday, the Nigerian ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Abdullah Aminchi, again said the date of Yar'Adua's return was yet unclear, but added that the President was feeling better by the day.

Reuters news agency quoted a statement issued by the envoy as saying that only the doctors could decide the day the president would return.

This is in line with what the Minister of Information, Prof. Dora Akunyili, said last week in Abuja. She had said that it was only the doctors treating the President who could say when Yar'Adua would return to the country.

“Since his arrival in the Kingdom, he has been feeling better by the day... the doctors will decide when he can leave. Now they said he should rest in the hospital and they have not given a date for when he can leave,” Aminchi said in the statement. He failed to comment on the current actual medical condition of the president.

Yar'Adua's stay in the clinic in the Red Sea port of Jeddah is the latest in a series of overseas medical trips which have raised concern about his health. He has in the past visited Saudi Arabia and Germany reportedly to treat a chronic kidney problem.

Ministers unanimously agreed earlier this month that there were no grounds on which to seek the president's resignation; rejecting calls for him to quit or let a panel of doctors determine whether he is fit to govern.

The cabinet came out strongly backing Yar'Adua after reports had it that about 50 public figures called on him to resign or allow a medical panel to assess his health.

“We have decided to stand by the president and pray for him to recover fully,” Akunyili had told the media.

In the aftermath of the resolution by the Federal Execu-tive Council (FEC), the Action Congress (AC) caucus of the House of Representatives had insisted that the president should resign.

The president's long stay in the hospital has led to a plethora of calls for prayers by politicians and religious leaders.

The Senate President David Mark had some weeks ago called for a nine-day prayer for Yar'Adua's speedy recovery.

“We are in difficult times in the life and history of our country. We should all continue to pray for the quick recovery of Mr. President for him to return and continue the governance of our nation.

“Since the President left for Saudi Arabia for medical check up, the organs of government have remained intact and functional. But in spite of this, some Nigerians have resorted to all kinds of rumours that can neither strengthen our development processes nor guarantee our much-sought reforms. I urge you to ignore these rumour mongers as they do not mean well for our country and her people,” Mark had said