New pictures of Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari meeting officials in London have surfaced. The 74-year-old leader, currently in the UK for medical treatment, had been due to return to Nigeria on 6 February, but prolonged his stay to complete medical tests recommended by doctors.

The move fanned further rumours about his deteriorating health and is likely to erode confidence in his administration.

However, on 9 February, the presidency posted on social media pictures of Buhari meeting senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Chief Bisi Akande at Abuja House, in London's Holland Park, west London.

Furthermore, Buhari's spokesperson Femi Adesina told the BBC that the president was not ill and was due to return to Nigeria soon.

Latest reports suggested Buhari could return to Nigeria on Saturday ( 11 February) with a source informing the Leadership newspaper all was set for the Buhari's return.

Nigerians have become increasingly concerned with the health of their head of state. People have been engaging on social media to discuss the matter and poring over the president's health updates on the internet.

The Nigerian presidency has released several statements dismissing allegations Buhari was gravely ill or even dead. Claims emerged earlier in January after Buhari announced he would take a 10-day vacation to relax and undergo a medical check-up in the UK.

Shortly after, fake versions of news websites Metro UK and the Huffington Post – both domains were registered in Arizona, US, and are owned by the same company – reported respectively that Buhari had died and "was caught committing suicide".

President Buhari
Nigeria's president Muhammadu Buhari announced in January he would take a 10-day leave to relax and undergo a medical check-up in the UK Brendad Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

Earlier in February, the presidency released pictures of Buhari "relaxing" in the UK. However, some alleged the pictures had been Photoshopped, with some calling on Buhari to personally dismiss the death rumours.

Some have criticised the leader for going on vacation just days after the army mistakenly killed dozens of refugees and aid workers in an airstrike supposed to target Boko Haram militants.

People have drawn similarities between Buhari's medical leave and that of deceased former president Umaru Yar'Adua, who was admitted to a hospital in Saudi Arabia in 2009.

The country experienced a power vacuum filled only when the senate approved a "Doctrine of Necessity" to allow the then vice-president Goodluck Jonathan to be sworn in.

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