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Nigeria’s senate president not rushed to hospital, aide says after online speculation

IN SHORT: Nigeria’s senate president celebrated his 61st birthday in the federal capital of Abuja in December 2023, with several high-profile guests in attendance. Social media posts claim he was rushed to hospital afterwards, but Godswill Akpabio has said he has malaria and spoke to his doctors at home.

The president of the Nigerian senate, Godswill Akpabio, turned 61 on 14 December 2023. The country’s president, Bola Tinubu, attended the celebrations. 

But several posts on Facebook claim he collapsed afterwards and was rushed to hospital. 

One of the posts reads: “Senate President Akpabio Collapses After His Birthday Colloquium In Abuja, Wheeled On Stretcher Into 'Special Room' In Hospital.”

Some of the posts controversially used the word “slump”. Earlier in December, there was media speculation that an appeals court judge had collapsed before dying, although his family did not reveal the cause of death.

The same claim about Akpabio appeared on Facebook here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

But was the senate president rushed to the hospital? We checked. 


Spokesperson says otherwise

Our search for online photos or videos confirming the incident came up empty. Akpabio actively participated in his birthday ceremony and spoke for about 30 minutes, his aide Eseme Eyiboh told the media.

Eyiboh said the senate president's expression of fatigue was misinterpreted as a more serious incident like “a fainting spell or collapse”.

“This is wholly untrue and I declare firmly that besides saying he was exhausted in the hearing of those around him, he was certainly not rushed in a stretcher to the national hospital or indisposed.”

The senate also refuted the claims.

Akpabio said he had developed malaria, which was made worse by exhaustion and stress.

The national newspaper Premium Times quoted him as saying:“What eventually happened after the event was a show of humanity. I went home and I called my doctors and I was assured that I have malaria, mingled with stress, which could also be described in another way as exhaustion.”

There is no evidence Akpabio was hospitalised in the alarming manner claimed online.

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