Wife of the President, Aisha Buhari, has withdrawn her case against a final-year student of the Federal University, Dutse, Jigawa State, Aminu Mohammed, following pressure and condemnation by activists, Amnesty International, the National Association of Nigerian Students, and other Nigerians.
The prosecution counsel, Fidelis Ogbobe, while withdrawing the case on behalf of Mrs Buhari, said the President’s wife, being the mother of the nation, decided to withdraw the case following the intervention of “well-meaning Nigerians”.
Moving a motion for the withdrawal of the case, Ogbobe cited Section 108 (2)(a) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act. Justice Yusuf Halilu of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory commended Mrs Buhari for withdrawing the case.
Halilu, while issuing the release warrant, called on parents to always monitor their children to avoid recurrence.
The 24-year-old student had alleged in Hausa that the wife of the President was “feeding fat on poor people’s money”. It was reported that he was moved from Bauchi to Abuja on Aisha’s command and locked up.
Muhammad’s uncle, Shebu Azare, had, in an interview published by BBC Hausa, on Monday, said the victim’s father, Mallam Adamu, was not aware of his son’s arrest until five days later when the matter had escalated.
The matter had also generated a lot of reactions, with prominent Nigerians, including the presidential candidate of the African Action Congress, Omoyele Sowore, and other human rights activists calling for the student’s release.
According to a police report, Muhammed was arrested at Federal University Dutse on November 18, 2022, after the wife of the President instructed a team of police detectives to track him down.
The Presidency had also barred visitors from visiting inmates at the Suleja Correctional Centre, Niger State, following the arrest of Aminu.
One of our correspondents who visited the facility observed a heavy presence of security agents, with an inscription, “No Visitation,” at the entrance.
According to report, security agent said that there was an order from the Presidency barring all forms of visitation following Muhammed’s arrival at the facility.
“We can’t let you into the facility. No one is allowed to see Aminu. In fact, since he was brought in on Tuesday, no one has been allowed to visit inmates within the facility. You can read the note on the wall, no visitation is allowed, and I don’t want to lose my job,”
The officer, however, noted that the detained student lacked food since he arrived at the facility on Tuesday, adding that he only had N2,000 on him which spent, and could not afford to get food since no one was allowed to visit or call him.
The security agent added, “I feel for the boy; he arrived here with just N2,000, and it is finished. He complained of hunger today (Thursday), but there was nothing we could do since no one had been allowed to visit or call him. He only ate bread this morning.”
Meanwhile, Amnesty International Nigeria condemned the arrest and alleged torture of Muhammed and called for his immediate release.
Its Director of Amnesty International, Nigeria, Osai Ojigho, said, “The Nigerian authorities must urgently release Aminu Muhammed and drop all charges against him. He is a student accused of defaming Aisha Buhari, the first lady of Nigeria, on Twitter.
“It is beyond disgraceful that the Nigerian authorities have arrested and allegedly tortured Aminu Muhammed after he merely tweeted about the first lady of Nigeria. This deeply repressive act brazenly violates his human rights.”
“The bogus charges against Aminu must be urgently and unconditionally dropped. The authorities should instead order an investigation into his unlawful detention and abusive treatment. The fact that he was detained incommunicado highlights the rampant impunity enjoyed by the Nigerian authorities.”
“Aminu’s final exams are scheduled for December 5, 2022, at the Federal University, Dutse. He must be urgently freed and be able to finish his degree.”
On November 29, 2022, Muhammed was charged with cybercrime, cybersquatting, computer-related forgery, conspiracy and criminal breach of trust.