Nigerians lambast Aisha Buhari over ‘insensitive’ celebration of daughter-in-law’s graduation abroad

Many Nigerians have criticized President Muhammadu Buhari’s wife, Aisha Buhari, for a post on her Facebook page celebrating her daughter-in-law Zahra Buhari’s graduation from a foreign university.

The post is described by Nigerians as “insensitive” to the plight of the country’s public university students, who have been barred from classrooms for more than seven months due to an unresolved conflict between the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Nigerian government.

However, attempts to get a response from Ms. Buhari to the reactions have been unsuccessful as the phone line of her spokesman, Aliyu Abdullahi, was unavailable at the time of filing this report.

The post

The President’s wife took to her Facebook page on Tuesday to congratulate young Ms Zahra and commend her on graduating with First Class Honors in Architectural Science.

However, Ms Buhari failed to identify the exact university from which the new graduate graduated, but the many pictures released clearly showed that Nigeria’s first family, along with the in-laws, were abroad to celebrate the graduate.

She wrote; “Congratulations to Ms. Zahra B. Buhari on graduating with First Class Honors in Architectural Science. I wish you all the best!”

The images accompanying the post also show Ms Buhari posing with some non-Nigerians in academic gowns who appear to be officials at the school.

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Zahra Buhari is the wife of the President’s wife’s only son, Yusuf Buhari, and the daughter of Nasiru Ado Bayero, one of the elite princes of Kano, the commercial center of Nigeria’s northern region. Mr Bayero was recently installed as the traditional monarch of the Bichi Emirates Council, one of four new Emirates Councils In the city.

Buhari’s children in foreign schools

Meanwhile, attending foreign universities is nothing new for Nigeria’s first family and this has been cited as the reason for “the president’s seemingly lackluster approach to solving the crisis”.

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At least five of Mr. Buhari’s children attended foreign universities.

Nana-Hadiza attended the University of Buckingham; Safinatu attended the University of Plymouth; Halima attended the University of Leicester, Yusuf and Zahra Buhari attended the University of Surrey, all in the UK.

Kicking Nigerians

In response, many Nigerians took to social media to berate the president’s wife, with the Facebook post alone having garnered more than 20,000 comments so far, most of them invective.

A well-known activist, Deji Adeyanju, wrote: “Even the ASUU strike couldn’t stop Aisha Buhari from posting this? You cannot shame the shameless. The way the Buharis deceived Nigerians in 2015 should be investigated.”

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Another tweet from @PoojaMedia reads: “ASUU has been on strike for over 9 months and Aisha Buhari has still released her daughter’s UK degree. The level to take citizens for granted. So insensitive. Oh well.”

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Another person @IfedolapoOsun wrote: “ASUU has been on strike for over 9 months and Aisha Buhari has still released her daughter’s UK degree.”

Many others also berated the first family, accusing the President of deliberately frustrating negotiations with the striking university workers’ unions and “keeping young Nigerian youth idle”.

ASUU strike

It has been more than seven months since ASUU began its strike, which it declared indefinite after the two parties failed to reach a compromise on the union’s demands.

ASUU has called for the replacement of the Integrated Payroll and Human Resources Information System (IPPIS) as the payroll platform with the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) developed by its members.

ASUU said that instead of ensuring accountability, IPPIS enabled fraud in the system and failed to take into account the specifics of the university system.

The union is also demanding, among other things, the release of the university revitalization fund contained in previous agreements with the government and the release of student grants earned by its members.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila met with ASUU leadership on Tuesday to seek a solution to the ongoing crisis.

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But on Wednesday the National Labor Court ordered the union to stay the industrial action pending a decision on the matter submitted to it by the Nigerian government through its Minister of Labor and Employment, Chris Ngige.

It is unclear whether the order will be followed by the lecturers, as one union leader, who asked not to be named, described it as a “political judgement”.

Qosim Suleiman is a reporter at Premium Times in partnership with Report for the World, which brings together local newsrooms with talented aspiring journalists to cover undercover issues around the world.

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