Parents of Aminu Azare, a student of the Federal University, Dutse, who was arrested for alleging that the wife of President Muhammadu Buhari, Aisha Buhari, was feeding fat on poor people’s money, has pleaded with the first lady to forgive and release their son.
Aminu, a final-year student of Environmental Management and Toxicology at the University, was arrested after a tweet he posted in June on the allegation against Mrs Buhari, went viral five months later.
Speaking to BBC Hausa on Monday, the uncle of the arrested student, Shehu Baba – Azare, said the family are pleading with the wife of the president to forgive their son.
He said the family had no knowledge of the arrest until five days later when their son’s colleague told them he had not been seen for days.
He said Aminu was taken on 17 November and taken to Abuja, where he was reprimanded and tortured in the presence of Mrs Buhari.
“The father did not know of the arrest… The following morning on Monday, Aminu (Mr Azare) called his father through a security agent’s phone and informed him that he was being held in Abuja by security agents. He said he was taken to the State House, reprimanded and beaten in the presence of the wife of the president, before he was taken to an unknown location and locked.
“The father later informed me that the university management (Federal University Dutse) called to inform him that they were not aware of the arrest,” Mr Baba – Azare said.
The uncle said the family has been thrown into a state of confusion.
“Of course, we are disturbed. There are instances of such arrests that are still unresolved. We’re pleading with her to forgive our son because she is a mother too. Let her forgive and forget. We’re pleading with her,” Mr Baba – Azare said.
Mrs Buhari’s spokesperson, Aliyu Abdullahi, told Premium Times he was in a meeting.
As soon as the Premium Times reporter introduced himself, Mr Abdullahi quickly said, “I’m in a meeting now. I’m in a meeting, please.” And he hung up. He did not respond to subsequent messages sent to him on the issue.
The arrest of the student has been greeted with outrage on Twitter with some young Nigerians blasting Mrs Buhari for being intolerant.
Amnesty International, a human rights organisation, in a statement on the incident, said the student must be released unconditionally.
“Amnesty International calls on the authorities to release him from unlawful detention and ensure that all those suspected of torture and other violations against him are brought to justice.”