The former minister, a former professor of pharmacy at the University of Nigeria and a delegate to the on-going national confab, became a subject of public concern when she surfaced at the conference looking terribly emaciated and feeble. A family friend told SaharaReporters that Mrs. Akunyili was diagnosed with cancer and stated that she had spent several months in the US receiving treatment. In photos published by this website, Mrs. Akunyili’s bony look was a far cry from her former radiant physique.
Our sources disclosed that Mrs. Akunyili’s condition worsened a few days ago, prompting her hospitalization at an undisclosed hospital in Abuja.
SaharaReporters called Mrs. Akunyili’s mobile telephone twice today. During the first call, a female voice passed on our call to her but she abruptly hung up. During a subsequent call, the female voice said Mrs. Akunyili was sleeping, but refused to disclose her condition or specific location.
Several blogs have reported that Mrs. Akunyili had been flown to India for a round of medical treatment. However, two members of the National Conference said the former minister was hospitalized in Abuja. One of the delegates revealed that Mrs. Akunyili had not been at the confab for several weeks after she made a public address at one of the plenaries at the confab.
Last month, Mrs. Akunyili tried to douse public concerns about her health status by issuing a statement to say her doctors gave her the nod to attend the conference.
She wrote: “My attention has been drawn to a story making the rounds online claiming that I am seriously sick, currently out of the country and in need of urgent prayers.
“This story is baseless, unfounded and the handiwork of mischief makers. It should be ignored and discarded in its entirety…While it is true that I recently came out of a major sickness, for which I thank Almighty God for delivering me, I have since been declared fit by my doctors and returned to my normal activities.”
Mrs. Akunyili has not updated her Facebook page for a while.