INSECURITY is mounting at the presidential villa amid rumours that gunshots were fired there yesterday as security aides of the first lady Hadjia Aisha Buhari clashed with one of her husband’s special assistants Sabiu Yusuf over coronavirus fears.
Apparently, Hadjia Buhari’s aide-camp, Usman Shugaba, attempted to force President Muhammadu Buhari’s special assistant, Sabiu Yusuf, into self -isolation over Covid-19 fears. Trouble started when Sabiu, President Buhari’s nephew, returned to his residence in the presidential villa after a trip to Lagos where he had gone to meet his wife who had just delivered a new baby.
Hadjia Buhari and three of her children, Zahra, Halima and Yusuf, accompanied by some of her security aides led went to his residence to demand that he should self-isolate for 14 days, so as not to endanger the first family. However, the encounter was said to have degenerated into a heated argument as Sabiu insisted he was not the only aide to travel to Lagos saying that the new chief of staff, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, is in Lagos every weekend.
Sabiu questioned why the double standard requiring his self isolation for visiting his own wife who just delivered a new baby. However, Hadjia Buhari refused to accept his explanation, leading Sabiu to flee after gunshots were fired by the first lady’s aide-de-camp, forcing him to escape to the nearby residence of President Buhari’s cousin, Mamman Daura, where he spent the night.
Upon receiving a report about the incident, inspector-general of police Mohammed Adamu, ordered the arrest of the aide-de-camp to the first lady and all the security aides that accompanied her to Sabiu’s residence. He pointed out that the firing of gunshots, no matter the provocation was a major security breach.
However, Hadjia Buhari has called on Mr Adamu to release her aides from detention. Sources in villa said that following the death of Mallam Abba Kyari, the president’s former chief of staff from Covid-19 complications, the first lady had been moving to expand her influence but believed that some of her husband’s relatives, including Sabiu, were blocking her from achieving this objective.
Hadjia Buhari said: “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 National Centre for Disease Control guidelines, especially on inter-state travel without the necessary exemptions for movement of essentials.
“Anyone who does that should at the very least be made to undergo a 14 days 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 inspector-general of police to release my assigned staff who are still in the custody in order to avoid putting their lives in danger or exposure to Covid-19 while in their custody.”
However, Sabiu is not the first presidential aide that did not self-isolate after travelling out of Abuja. Two of the president’s daughters, Zahra and Halima, were also said to have visited their in-laws when Halima’s husband’s uncle died recently and they did self-isolate when they returned to the villa.