The Nigeria’s First Lady is facing series of condemnations over the arrest, brutalisation and detention of Aminu Adamu, a final year student in the Department of Environmental Management and Taxocology, of the Federal University, Dutse, Jigawa State, for mocking her.
Aminu who was arrested within campus around 12 noon on November 8, had in June 2022 tweeted, “Su mama anchi kudin talkawa ankoshi”, which when interpreted means “Mama has got fatter by eating masses’ money”. It is however still unclear whether the first lady was offended for being body shamed or for being accused of allegedly feeding fat on the masses’ money.
The 23-year-old undergraduate student made the post during the eight months strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities who were protesting for better working conditions by the Federal Government. According to Aminu’s friends, the tweet was in reaction to the industrial action embarked upon by the lecturers which had left students nationwide at home and their education put on hold for months.
Thousands of students like Aminu, under the umbrella of the National Association of Nigerian Students before the strike was called off, had also taken to the the streets in some parts of the country to express their disappointment at the government’s inability to settle its matter with the striking lecturers.
In an interview with BBC Pidgin, Aminu’s uncle Shehu Baba Azare said the family had asked the First Lady for forgiveness and begged for the release of their son. A student leader at Animu’s institution, who identified himself as Khalid Mohammed, disclosed that the school would soon begin examinations but that if Aminu is not freed before then, he will fail his semester examinations.
The Police Public Relations Officer in Jigawa, ASP Lawal Shiisu told Channels Television that the police wasn’t aware of the student’s arrest but only got to know about the alleged arrest in the media.
“We only heard that a Federal University Dutse student was arrested in Jigawa. We are not responsible for that and no security agency informed us on the development,” he said.
However, according to Sahara Reporters, the policemen that arrested the student acted on the orders of the Aide-De-Camp to Mrs Buhari, Usman Shugaba. NANS also in a statement on Tuesday by its president Usman Barambuon, revealed that the Federal Capital Territory Police Command made the arrest.
He said, “After some days of searching, we got the information that he was at the police unit in Wuse Zone 2. I met with Mohammed at the police custody. “Just like the normal way angry citizens have different ways of expression on the social media. On November 18, 2022, the police from Abuja tracked Mohammed to the Federal University Dutse and picked him without any written/verbal invitation or informing the school management or his family.”
“He was the one who sent the policemen to Dutse to pick the poor student. They brought him to Aso Rock in Abuja and started assaulting him. The ADC is as power-drunk as his principal (Aisha Buhari),” one of the sources revealed.
Spokesperson for Aminu’s school, Abdullahi Anako in a statement confirmed the arrest but disassociated the university from the post he made on Twitter. Anako stated that Aminu made the post while the university was on break and he acted in his capacity not as a student of the Federal University Dutse.
“He was trailed to Dutse and was arrested by an unidentified security personnel. However, the university authorities have spoken to the parent who have already engaged the services of a lawyer to handle the matter and they are hopeful of amicable resolution soon,” Anako stated.
Publisher of Daily Nigerian, Ja’afar Ja’afar, revealed that Mrs Buhari while attempting to throw a kick on the student, slipped and fractured her leg which landed her to an Abuja hospital.
Ja’afar said, “From my findings, it was not SSS but plain-clothed policemen who arrested & tortured a final-year student @aminullahie and another lady named Zainab Kassim (a former social media aide to First Lady). The operation was engineered and executed by Aisha Buhari’s ADC Usman Shugaba.
“It may sound like a fairy tale, but the following is actually what transpired: the duo were beaten to a pulp in the presence of Mrs Buhari by three security aides. While Aminu and Ms Kassim were being beaten, the First Lady felt that they were not beating them well, so she joined them.
“As she attempted to throw a kick, she slipped and fractured her leg. It was the injury she suffered during the assault that took her to Cedar Crest Hospital for treatment.
“While Ms Kassim was released on the condition that she would not speak to the press, the final-year student may face trumped up charges of defamation. This is sad for democracy.”
As at the time of filing this report, neither the First Lady nor the Presidency have commented on the student’s arrest and detention but since the revelation of Aminu’s illegal detention, the #FreeAminuAdamuMohammed began trending on various social media platforms with over 60,000 mentions as of Sunday night as Nigerians pressurise the First Lady to immediately release the student.
In the statement by NANS, Barambu apologised to the First Lady for Aminu’s action “which might have caused her and her family pains. However, as leaders and public office holders, we must overlook some criticisms if we want to really forge ahead and do the right thing.”
“We demand a detailed explanation by the Nigeria Police on why they will go to the school premises and ‘kidnap’ a student without due process and took him straight to the Presidential Villa where he was brutalised which violates his fundamental human rights,” NANS queried, and warned the police to “as a matter of national interest and urgency to release Mohammed unconditionally or be prepared to face the Nigerian students.”
Human rights lawyer, Inibehe Effiong described Aisha Buhari’s action as “draconian, vindictive, oppressive and reckless,” asking the Madam First Lady to go to court if she felt aggrieved.
Effiong said, “If Mrs Aisha Buhari felt defamed, she should have sued him for libel. Deploying the SSS, an agency established by law for the internal security of Nigeria, to arrest and detain the young man is another evidence of the culture of crass impunity that pervades the Buhari regime.
“Section 39 of the 1999 Constitution guarantees freedom of expression. It is not acceptable to deploy state apparatus in such a draconian, vindictive and oppressive manner the way Mrs Aisha Buhari has done to settle personal scores. The SSS has no jurisdiction in this case.
“I unreservedly deprecate this reckless abuse of power and demand the immediate release of Aminu Adamu Muhammed, a student of Federal University Dutse,” he added.
Presidential candidate of the African Action Congress and publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore, in a Twitter post, added his voice to the calls for the immediate release of the final year student. He expressed disgust that she allegedly took part in the torture and assault of Aminu of which was said to have fractured her leg.
Sowore said, “#FreeAminu It is unbelievable and unprecedented that First Lady @Aisha Buhari participated in the torture and assault of Aminu, even fracturing her leg as a result. The poor guy must have suffered internal/external injuries. @PoliceNG must release #FreeAminu with immediate effect.”
Human rights group, the Deputy Director of Social Economic Rights and Accountability Project Group (SERAP), Kolawole Oluwadare, in a statement, threatened legal action if Aminu is not released. Also, the National Coordinator, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, in a statement, described the arrest as absolutely unlawful and criminal. He decried the inability of security agencies and assets to defeat terrorists, who have always been deployed to monitor social media gossips and eavesdropping on telephone communications in the country.
Investigative Reporter, David Hundeyin, in reaction to the detention of the student, quoted a 2013 tweet by the All Progressives Congress United Kingdom verified account, which insulted the then First Lady, Patience Jonathan.
“Death notice (2) Survived by GEJ (Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan), Shepopotamus (Alleged reference to Patience Jonathan)…Funeral to be held at Aso Rock. No sycophants or flowers please,” it read.
Hundeyin recalled that despite the derogatory tweet against the then sitting First Lady, “The sky did not fall down. So please entirely miss me with anything you have to say. Aisha Buhari’s bullying has not even started.”
International rights organisation, Amnesty International also in a Tweet, called for the “immediate and unconditional release” of the 23-year-old student, saying, “For a tweet on the First Lady of Nigeria #Aisha Buhari, #Aminu Muhammed is still held incommunicado since his arrest on 8 November by Nigerian security operatives. —While unlawfully detained, he was subjected to severe beating and other forms of ill-treatment. —#FreeAminu now.
Human rights activist, Aisha Yesufu in her condemnation said, “Who is Aisha Buhari that an aggrieved citizen cannot talk about? Those of you talking about her so called powers need to ask yourselves whether you are citizens or slaves.”
Popular comedian and activist, Debo Adedayo, popularly known as Mr. Macaroni who had been a victim of oppression, urged the First Lady, in a tweet, not to abuse her power over the student’s Twitter post. He asked her to go to court if she felt aggrieved as she was not bigger than God, Nigerians or the law.
He wrote, “Madam First Lady, you are not God!!! If you have any grievance whatsoever, go to court!!!
You are not bigger than the Citizens of Nigeria, neither are you bigger than the Law!!
You should use your power to serve the people, not oppress them!!
“President Goodluck Jonathan and his wife suffered so many insults. Even from people who are in this present government.
“APC trolls curse and insult some of us here every day. We dey chest am. The ones we can’t chest, we go to court!
“Madam First Lady, stop abusing power!!!
“I can speak so much about issues like this because I have been a victim of oppression and brutality and I know how horrible the experience is!!! If you are being held by security agents with backing from political figures, they will do the unthinkable!! Dem go lick you finish!!”