Nigerian president denies rumour he died and was replaced by clone

‘A lot of people hoped I was dead,’ leader says as he dismisses conspiracy theory

Adam Forrest
Monday 03 December 2018 12:50
Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari denies rumour he died and was replaced by clone

Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari, has denied claims he had died and been replaced by a lookalike “clone”.

The bizarre rumour has spread on social media in the west African country over recent months after the 75-year-old spent much of last year in the UK being treated for an undisclosed illness.

The conspiracy theory – which has even been aired by some of Mr Buhari’s political opponents – involves a body double from Sudan called Jubril taking the president’s place following his alleged death.

No solid evidence has been presented for the imposter theory, but videos making the claim have still been viewed thousands of times on YouTube and Facebook.

“It’s [the] real me, I assure you. I will soon celebrate my 76th birthday and I will still go strong,” Mr Buhari told a group of Nigerians in a town hall session in Poland, where he was attending UN climate change conference, COP24.

“One of the questions that came up today in my meeting with Nigerians in Poland was on the issue of whether I’ve been cloned or not.

“The ignorant rumours are not surprising – when I was away on medical vacation last year a lot of people hoped I was dead.”

A spokesperson for the president said a Nigerian citizen at Sunday’s meeting in Krakow had asked Mr Buhari directly if he was the real president or “the much talked about” Jubril from Sudan.

Muhammadu Buhari became president in 2015

Nigeria’s head of state also revealed the body double rumour had become so widespread that some officials had reached out to the country’s vice president, Yemi Osinbajo, asking to be his deputy.

“That embarrassed him a lot – we discussed it when he visited me while I was convalescing,” Mr Buhari said.

The president’s office also released an official statement with Mr Buhari’s comments entitled: “It’s real me, president Buhari responds to cloning allegation.”

Mr Buhari became Nigeria’s president in 2015 after winning a general election.

The former army general previously served as head of state between 1983 and 1985 following a military coup.

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