Nigerian president denies dying and being replaced by clone
July 14, 2020
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday denied claims that he had died and been replaced by a Sudanese impostor or a clone, breaking his silence on a rumour that has circulated on social media for months.
Mr Buhari, who is running for re-election in February, spent five months in Britain 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 One theory widely aired on social media – and by some political opponents – was that he had been replaced by a lookalike from Sudan called Jubril.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.
"It’s real me, I assure you. I will soon celebrate my 76th birthday and I will still go strong," Mr Buhari told Nigerians in a town hall session in Poland, where he was attending a conference, when asked about Jubril.
"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 presidency circulated Mr Buhari’s comments in an emailed statement entitled "It’s Real Me, President Buhari Responds to Cloning Allegation".
President @MBuhari’s response to the rumors of him being cloned.
“…Somebody just thought I am cloned, …it is real me I sure you.” pic.twitter.com/PGSWozK6kh
— APC Nigeria (@APCNigeria) December 2, 2018
The rumour was first spotted on Twitter late last year, but has appeared across multiple platforms, fanned at times by opposition politicians. Social media users have claimed Mr Buhari can be seen writing with his right hand in one photograph and his left in another.
The rumour was further fuelled by a real-life event in May this year, when a Nigerian diplomat – Habibu Almu – was found dead in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.
Nigeria’s foreign ministry said on May 14 that Almu had been "stabbed to death" and that a Sudanese woman of Nigerian origin had been arrested.
Sudanese police said the killing did not appear to be politically motivated but conspiracy theorists have claimed the death was linked to an apparent cover-up of Mr Buhari’s death