A member of Nigeria’s first family is trending on social media over the mistreatment of a young Nigerian over the past few days. The attention she’s got has come with various taunts, public outcries, and even different forms of body shaming against her and the Nigerian government.
The person in question is none other than the First Lady of Nigeria, Aisha Buhari.
If you’ve been living under a rock and don’t understand what’s happening here, let’s break it down for you.
What’s the issue?
On June 8, 2022, a final-year student of the Federal University Dutse, Aminu Muhammed, commented on the First Lady’s weight gain.
The English translation of the tweet is, “The mother has gotten fatter by eating the masses’ money.”
When you compare the Aisha Buhari of 2015 to her in 2022, you can’t exactly help but notice some changes.
Muhammed’s friends said he made the tweet out of frustration of sitting at home during the eight months of the strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). We all know idle hands are dangerous.
Five months after that tweet, Muhammed was arrested by some security agents, subjected to severe beatings, and taken to an unknown destination in Abuja. We don’t need a rocket scientist to figure out who’s responsible for his issues.
Muhammed’s family has pleaded with the First Lady to release the student, but Her Majesty has made no comments so far.
Who else is on this table?
Sadly, this isn’t the first time regular Nigerians are getting in trouble with political figures over their online activity. Let’s recall some sad examples.
Ganduje vs Tiktokers
This year, two young Tiktokers, Mubarak Muhammad and Nazifi Muhammad, decided to make Kano State governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, a muse for one of their videos. They mimicked Ganduje for selling public plots of land in Kano. Ganduje didn’t like it and initiated legal steps.
Weeks ago, a magistrate court convicted them of defamation and they were punished with 20 strokes of the cane and ordered to sweep the magistrate court for one month.
Goodluck Jonathan vs Shola
In 2020, police officers detained a Twitter influencer popularly known as Shola and denied him access to lawyers for two months.
All he did was operate a parody account of a former president, Goodluck Jonathan, on Twitter. The former president didn’t find it funny and reported him to the authorities.
Aminu Masari vs Gambo Saeed
In 2017, A Katsina Chief Magistrate’s Court sentenced Gambo Saeed to nine months imprisonment for insulting and defaming the character of Governor Aminu Masari of Katsina State on social media.
The insult? Saeed called out Masari for masterminding the impeachment of the Speaker of the Katsina House of Assembly, Aliyu Muduru.
Masari’s involvement in Muduru’s removal remains unclear because 23 out of 34 of his fellow members booted him. But for Masari to have reacted strongly to the accusation, maybe Saeed was right after all.
What’s going on with Aminu Muhammed?
Nigerians and human rights groups such as Amnesty International and the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) have called for the immediate release of Muhammed. SERAP has even threatened legal action against the Buhari administration if he’s not released soon.
Will justice prevail in Aminu Muhammed’s case? Or will this episode be swept under the carpet as usual? Let’s wait and see.