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Rumble in Aso Rock over withdrawal of Aisha Buhari’s aides



There is disquiet in the Presidential Villa, Abuja, following the withdrawal of security aides attached to the president’s wife, Hajiya Aisha Buhari.

The withdrawal of police officers attached to the office of the First Lady, including her Aide-De-Camp (ADC), Usman Shugaba, and Escort Commander, came after the Special Assistant to the President, Sabiu Tunde Yusuf, a nephew to President Muhammadu Buhari, was asked by Mrs. Buhari to respect the COVID-19 guidelines, following his alleged refusal to go on self-isolation after returning from Lagos.

The first lady’s encounter with the president’s nephew reportedly in the company of her children was said to have gone out of hand after the involvement of security personnel who shot into the air thrice.

Daily Trust on Sunday learned that the gunshots at the State House happened at the point when Sabiu, who is popularly known as Tunde, a name he was given after Tunde Idiagbon, the second in command to then Major General Muhammadu Buhari during the military regime, was making efforts to leave after the altercation with the first family.

A source said, “On Thursday, when the first lady heard that he was still coming to work, she asked him to self-isolate but he told her that the president said he didn’t have to. “Her insistence led to a heated verbal exchange between them and which the president was informed about. The president, however, took sides with Tunde and didn’t see any reason why he should self-isolate. “He said Zahra and Halima (his daughters) left the villa to visit their in-laws when Halima’s husband’s uncle died recently and they didn’t self-isolate on their return.

He also pointed to the fact that when his new Chief of Staff, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, went to Lagos, he didn’t self-isolate on his return, so he didn’t see any reason why Tunde should. So, he overruled her.” The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, who visited the Presidential Villa Friday morning, was said to have ordered the arrest and detention of the police officers attached to the office of the first lady.

Hajiya Buhari, unhappy with the move by the police authorities, called on the Inspector General of Police via her Twitter handle, to free her ADC and other police aides taken into custody. The first lady in her verified Twitter handle @aishambuhari, wrote: “That COVID-19 is real and still very much around in our nation is not in doubt.

Consequently, I call on all relevant government agencies to enforce the Quarantine Act signed by Mr President and ensure no one is found violating this law and the NCDC guidelines especially on interstate travel without the necessary exemptions for movement of essentials. “Anyone who does that should at the very least be made to undergo a 14-day mandatory isolation no matter who the person is, no one should be above the law and the police command will do well to remember that. “Finally, I call on the IGP to release my assigned staff who are still in the custody of the police in order to avoid putting their lives in danger or exposure to COVID-19 while in their custody.”

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Daily Trust on Sunday gathered from sources that the security aides are yet to be released. It would be recalled that the first lady had on March 19 this year ordered her daughter to go on self-isolation for 14 days having returned from the United Kingdom. She also shut her office after learning that one of her aides came back from a high risk country to protect other staff from being infected from the virus.

Why Aisha Buhari challenged Sabiu Another source in the Presidency said the wife of the president acted in order to protect her family. The source said the concerned aide was responsible for the detention of the first lady’s security aides. When contacted yesterday, Barrister Aliyu Abdullahi, the Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the First Lady, said nobody has the right to fight the wife of the president.

Aliyu, who said such action was tantamount to disrespecting the president, also faulted the detention of Hajiya Buhari’s aides. “It doesn’t make sense for the police command to withdraw and arrest the ADC and his policemen under him and expose her to non-protection.

It is never done anywhere in this country. The only time we see that is in the movie when there they are trying to plot a coup or oust a president that his family will be left unprotected. If you leave the family unprotected, that means you can leave the president unprotected. That is the truth.” Aliyu, who dismissed the insinuation that the daughters of the president also traveled without observing self-isolation after retrun, said: “Where did they travel to? Is it Halima or Sarah who give premium to their health? Do you know how they take their health? You remember when one of the daughters, the youngest one, came back from London. She was not showing any symptom. She was well. But her mother could not meet her until 20 days.

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“The mother was the person who instructed that she should be isolated. It was after the completion of self-isolation that the mother met her. If someone can do that, then you can understand the level she can go to protect her family.”

The spokesman, who dismissed the notion that the first lady had wanted to see Sabiu out of the Villa as “untrue and ridiculous”, also faulted its connection to Malam Nasir El-Rufai and Sanusi Lamido Sanusi because of 2023 politics.

When contacted on phone, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, declined comments on the matter. Equally, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, did not reply to a text message sent to him after phone calls, while the police spokesman, Frank Mba’s line was unreachable.

Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has asked the National Assembly to intervene in the persistent infighting in the Presidential Villa. The PDP in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan argued that it is necessary for the National Assembly to intervene in the matter as it alleged that those in charge of Aso Rock have failed to demonstrate the required capacity to engender the needed orderliness for productive governance.

Timeline on Aisha Buhari’s outbursts In October, 2016: Hajiya Buhari, in a BBC interview, warned that she might not back her husband at the 2019 election unless he reshuffles his cabinet. She said the president “does not know” most of the top officials he appointed and suggested the government had been hijacked.

In October 2019: The video of the fight between the first lady and Fatima Daura, the daughter of Mamman Daura, inside the presidential villa, Abuja, which went viral was a major talking point in October last year. The leaked videos that went viral showed Aisha Buhari, angry, asking questions and making comments about being locked out of a room at the Villa. She also demanded that they pack their belongings and leave the apartment.

In December 2019: Aisha Buhari attacked Mamman Daura and Garba Shehu. In a statement, she accused Mamman Daura of issuing a directive to a presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu, not to recognise her office.