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Nigeria's Buhari Set to Return Home From Medical Leave


FILE - Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari waves after a meeting in Abuja, Nigeria, Jan. 9, 2017. He has been in Britain since January 19 on medical leave.

Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari will return to the West African nation Friday after extended medical leave in Britain, the president's office said Thursday.

Buhari, 74, left Abuja on January 19 for treatment in Britain. He had planned to stay 10 days but stayed longer to rest after consulting his doctors.

Officials have refused to disclose details of his illness, triggering much speculation in Nigerian media and on social media.

"President Muhammadu Buhari is expected to return to the country tomorrow, Friday, March 10, 2017," the president's office said in a statement.

"President Buhari expresses appreciation to teeming Nigerians from across the country, and beyond, who had prayed fervently for him, and also sent their good wishes," it added.

The statement gave no medical details.

Meeting with archbishop

Earlier in the day, the president's office published pictures of a smiling Buhari meeting the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, in Abuja House, part of the Nigerian High Commission in London.

No official pictures of Buhari's meetings in London had been posted since February 15.

The government had sought to allay concerns of a void at the helm of Africa's biggest economy by stressing that Buhari gave Vice President Yemi Osinbajo full powers as acting president during his leave.

Osinbajo, a lawyer, held cabinet meetings in Buhari's absence and finished work on an economic reform plan needed to secure a World Bank loan to help plug a deficit caused by low oil revenues.

The central bank also devalued the naira for retail customers two weeks ago.

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