Women Groups Write Malami To Probe Aisha Buhari
Over 250 women organisations in Nigeria under the aegis of ‘Feminist Womanifesto’ have described as “unacceptable in a civilian regime”, the arrest, assault and continued detention of two citizens who were said to have criticised the First Lady, Aisha Buhari.
The two victims currently being held by government agencies were a 23-year-old final-year student of the Department of Environmental Management and Toxicology Federal University of Dutse, Aminu Muhammed and former social media aide to the First Lady, Zainab Kassim.
Muhammed was arrested and beaten by security officers on November 8 2022 for a tweet that allegedly mocked Aisha Buhari, whole family members, friends and even a lawyer have not been able to access him.
Zainab Kassim, the former social media aide to Aisha Buhari was said to have also been beaten and arrested.
The Convener of Womanifesto, Dr Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, expressed these views in a petition to the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), dated December 1, obtained by journalists in Abuja on Friday, demanded their immediate release and investigation of their assault.
The document was titled, “Petition by women groups demanding the immediate and unconditional release of Aminu Muhammed and Zainab Kassim.”
The petition reads, “We call for their immediate and unconditional release. Various news outlets have suggested that the arrest of Aminu Muhammed and Zainab Kassim was in obedience to orders from Mrs Aisha Buhari and that the student was beaten in her presence.
“We are concerned that despite the call from Nigerians nothing has been said by the office of the First Lady or the government in this regard to counter the narrative. The development is unacceptable in a civilian regime. The rule of law is expected to be prioritized in all arrests. Furthermore, in this period marking 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, no leader, and certainly not a female leader should be associated with such abuses of power. No one should be above the law.
“We believe that the actions constitute a gross violation of the human right to personal liberty, freedom of speech and right to seek legal counsel. These actions also infringe on Section 35, Chapter 4 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which states that an arrested person must be brought before a competent court of law within a reasonable time of 48 hours. It has been over 21 days since their arrest.
“We are worried about the continued detention of these citizens and its implications on the country’s human rights reputation.
We are compelled to write to your esteemed office to demand an immediate investigation of the arrest, detention and assault of Aminu Muhammed and Zainab Kassim.
“We call your attention to the constitution which states Section 35 (6) states: Any person who is unlawfully arrested or detained shall be entitled to compensation and public apology from the appropriate authority or person; and in this subsection, ‘the appropriate authority or person’ means an authority or person specified by law.
“We also demand the Office of the First Lady of Nigeria to respond to the allegation for the sake of public good and accountability. We hope you will use your good office to cause an investigation in this regard to ensure that the law takes its cause and that both Aminu Muhammed and Zainab Kassim are released or taken before a court of competent jurisdiction. Nigerians are watching! We call on you to do the needful.”