Aisha Buhari, the wife of Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, has received an apology from the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) following the arrest of Aminu Mohammed, a student at the Federal University, Dutse Jigawa.
The reported arrest of Mohammed for a tweet about the First Lady has been widely criticised in Nigeria.
According to NANS, the Federal Capital Territory Police Command tracked Mohammed down in Jigawa and arrested him, despite earlier reports that the Department of State Services had apprehended him.
On behalf of Nigerian students, NANS President Usman Barambu released a statement Tuesday apologising to First Lady Buhari and demanding Mohammed’s release.
“The leadership of NANS received with concern the news of the unlawful arrest of Mohammed by the Nigeria Police on the instruction of Aisha Buhari. Upon receiving the news, I, Mohammed’s family and friends swung into action to trace the whereabouts of Mohammed. 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.
“It was alleged that Mohammed some weeks back posted Aisha Buhari’s picture on Twitter with the caption “Su mama anchi kudin talakawa an koshi” (translated from Hausa to ‘the mother has gotten fatter by eating masses’ money’).
“Just like the normal way angry citizens have different ways of expression on social media. On November 18, 2022, the police from Abuja tracked Mohammed to the Federal University Dutse and picked him up without any written/verbal invitation or informing the school management or his family,” Barambu narrated.
According to the NANS president, Mohammed was arrested and taken directly to the Presidential Villa, where he was allegedly brutalised, beaten, maltreated, and humiliated by police “on the orders of Aisha Buhari.” He was transferred to a police facility in Wuse Zone II, where he remains unlawfully detained.
“I, alongside our team of lawyers, met with Mohammed at the police facility, where he confirmed the incident to me. Until now, Mohammed has not been arraigned by any competent court of law or granted bail by the police.”
“We want to, on behalf of all the Nigerian students, tender our unreserved apology to the First Lady Aisha Buhari for the action of Mohammed, which might have caused her and her family pains. However, as leaders and public office holders, we must overlook some criticisms to 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,” the statement read.
According to NANS, Mohammed sustained multiple injuries and did not obtain appropriate medical care. “We call on the police as a matter of national interest and urgency to release Mohammed unconditionally or be prepared to face the Nigerian students.
“However, we are calling on our teeming students to be careful and apply decorum in dealing with people, especially our leaders. They should be mindful of what they post on social media.
“We want to inform the general public to be patient as we await response and actions from the Inspector General of Police on a letter earlier sent to his office,” the President said.