Nigeria President Buhari denies dying: 'It's the real me'

Nigerian leader refutes claims circulating on social media that he has died and been replaced by a Sudanese lookalike.

    Nigeria President Buhari denies dying: 'It's the real me'
    The Nigerian leader spent five months in the UK last year being treated for an undisclosed illness [Darren Ornitz/Reuters]

    Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari has denied claims that he had died and been replaced by a Sudanese impostor, quashing a rumour that has circulated on social media for months.

    "It's the real me, I assure you. I will soon celebrate my 76th birthday and I will still go strong," Buhari told Nigerians in a town hall session in Poland on Sunday, where he was attending a conference.

    "A lot of people hoped that I died during my ill health," he said, adding that those who spread the rumour were "ignorant and irreligious".

    The Nigerian leader, who is running for re-election in February, spent five months in the United Kingdom last year being treated for an undisclosed illness.

    One theory widely aired on social media - and by some political opponents - was that he had been replaced by a lookalike from Sudan called Jubril.

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

    The presidency circulated Buhari's comments in an emailed statement entitled "It's Real Me, President Buhari Responds to Cloning Allegation".

    SOURCE: News agencies