Nigeria

Vote in favour of Vice President as acting head-of-state

Le président par intérim Goodluck Jonathan.
Le président par intérim Goodluck Jonathan. AFP

The Nigerian senate has voted to suspend ailing President Umaru Yar'Adua from office and hand power to his deputy until he gets better. The lower house of parliament is preparing a vote on the issue. The President has spent nearly three months in hospital in Saudi Arabia with a serious heart condition.

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Opposition leaders have accused the government of covering up the seriousness of the 58-year-old President’s illness, claiming his continued absence has stalled crucial government business.

Alhaji Balarabe Musa, who heads the Conference of National Political Parties, says President Yar'Adua should be impeached.

"He has committed gross misconduct, first by leaving the country without informing the Senate or the House of Representatives and by allowing this vacuum in governance to continue for so long,” he told RFI.

The Federal High Court in Abuja ruled in mid-January that Vice President Goodluck Jonathan could carry out the President's functions in his absence, but that he could not become 'acting' President.

The Senate vote came as a group of Nigerian lawmakers met the Yar'Adua in Saudi Arabia today.

The US, Britain, France and the European Union issued a statement last month lamenting the uncertainty caused by his lengthy absence.

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