Over 3 months after leaving Nigeria to receive medical treatment for a heart condition, President Umaru Yar’Adua returned home to Abuja. Mr. Yar’Adua was finally removed from his bed on Tuesday and taken aboard an Abuja bound flight at about 2100 Saudi time.
Two planes, one of them an air ambulance, landed in the presidential wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport in Abuja within ten minutes of each other and it is believed that the president was on board the first one which landed at 0145 hours though there has not been any official statement from the government. Many Nigerians believe he either sneaked in under a cover up, or his body was sneaked in, or it is a decoy to an ever changing story.
A presidential convoy, including the Ford intensive care ambulance, was at the airport waiting to meet him. It is doubtful if the president has recovered from his illness and sources at the airport were unable to confirm what kind of condition he was in when he landed. Soldiers prevented journalists from going anywhere near the aircraft and the homecoming was without ceremony.
An airport employee who works as a ground staff said quite unusually, the planes disembarked at a secluded part of the runway.
“That is not where they normally land even when it is a presidential flight,“ he said. “The place they landed is as if they don’t want anybody to see them at all.”
The floodlights on the tarmac were also dimmed in the section the planes landed which made it difficult to make out the figures that alighted from the planes. It appeared though that Mr. Yar’Adua was moved directly into the ambulance.
There had been some signs that the president was returning to the country. Two of Mr. Yar’Adua’s daughters, Aisha Yar’Adua and Mariam Badamasi Kabir, both returned to Nigeria last weekend and this fuelled speculation that the president would soon be coming back.
Sources within the state house in Aso Rock also revealed that the past two days had seen some increased activity in the presidential quarters. On Tuesday, there was a high level of military presence at both the airport and within the federal capital territory.