News / Africa

Late Nigerian President Buried in Katsina

Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua was buried in his home state of Katsina Thursday, less than a day after he died in the capital, Abuja. His former vice president has been sworn in as Nigeria's new leader.

Thousands of people gathered in Katsina's township stadium for the Islamic funeral prayer Salat al-Janazah, seeking God's pardon for President Yar'Adua and all deceased Muslims.

He died late Wednesday at the age of 58, ten weeks after returning from medical treatment in Saudi Arabia for enlarged membranes surrounding his heart.

Senior military officers carried a simple wooden bier into the stadium which bore the president's body wrapped in the national flag of green-white-green.

Mr. Yar'Adua was then buried at Katsina's Dan Marna cemetery alongside his father and brother.

The president had not been seen in public for more than five months. His prolonged medical absence led the National Assembly to make vice president Goodluck Jonathan Nigeria's acting president in February.

Mr. Jonathan took the full oath of office earlier Thursday, saying he received news of the president's death with a deep sense of loss and profound sorrow, saying he has lost not only a boss but a brother.

"While we submit to the will of God as a people of faith, this sad event has placed our nation in deep mourning," he declared.  "On behalf of the good people of our great country Nigeria, I stand by our first lady Her Excellency Alhajia Turai Yar'Adua, the children, our mother, Alahajia Abiba Musa Yar'Adua, and the entire Yar'Adua family and offer our heartfelt condolences on the demise of our noble leader," said Jonathan.

President Jonathan says Nigerians must now aspire to uphold the values that Mr. Yar'Adua represented including a commitment to good governance, fighting corruption, and enacting electoral reform ahead of next year's nationwide vote.

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