ABUJA - Nigeria's President Buhari on Sunday denied claims that he had died and been replaced by a Sudanese impostor, breaking his silence on a rumor that has circulated on social media for months.
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 One theory widely aired on social media, and by some political opponents, was that he had been replaced by a lookalike from Sudan called Jubril.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, Facebook and Twitter.
One of the questions that came up today in my meeting with Nigerians in Poland was on the issue of whether I‘ve been cloned or not. The ignorant rumours are not surprising — when I was away on medical vacation last year a lot of people hoped I was dead. pic.twitter.com/SHTngq6LJU— Muhammadu Buhari (@MBuhari) December 2, 2018
"It's 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, 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 rumor were "ignorant and irreligious."
The presidency circulated Buhari's comments in an emailed statement titled "It's Real Me: President Buhari Responds to Cloning Allegation."