Nigerian first lady hospitalised

Abuja -

Nigerian First Lady Patience Jonathan has been receiving medical treatment in Germany for an illness suspected to have been food poisoning, a source in the presidency said Tuesday.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan and his wife Patience. Credit: AFP

Local media have been rife with speculation over the 55-year-old first lady's condition, but officials have not responded to requests for comment.

“It is true that the first lady is ill. She was flown to Germany for medical treatment some 10 days ago,” a presidency source told AFP on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak publicly.

“Initially it was for food poisoning that we know of, but we learnt that she underwent surgery last week. I really don't know yet the purpose of the surgery.”

The source added that she had been expected to return to Nigeria last week, but “the German hospital is insisting on her full recovery before her discharge.”

Patience Jonathan is the wife of President Goodluck Jonathan, who came to power in 2010 following the death of his predecessor Umaru Yar'Adua before winning 2011 elections.

In July, the first lady was sworn into a senior government post in the oil-rich state of Bayelsa, her husband's home state. - Sapa-AFP