The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says it is alarmed by the reported shooting and security breaches within the precincts of the Presidential villa, and called on President Muhammadu Buhari to take immediate steps to restore order in the Presidency to shield the country’s security system from the division and power tussle among persons close to him.
Recall that gunshots allegedly fired by the Aide-de-Camp (ADC) to the First Lady, Usman Shugaba, led to his arrest and some others who accompanied him.
According to The Will online newspaper, the power tussle in the Presidential Villa between First Lady Aisha Buhari and Sabiu ‘Tunde’ Yusuf, the President’s influential Personal Assistant and favourite nephew, has took a dangerous turn that could undermine security at the Presidential Villa, with the President’s top security aides’ loyalty split between the opposing camps.
The Villa was thrown into confusion, Thursday night, when the First Lady accompanied by her children – Zahra, Halima and Yusuf, – took a team of policemen led by her Aide-De-Camp to forcefully confront Tunde following an earlier heated disagreement over his refusal to self-isolate after his trip to Lagos to see his wife, who had just given birth to a boy.
Sources familiar with the event said on reaching the House 8 Guest Chalet of the President, where Tunde resides with his family, there was an altercation between him and Mrs. Buhari, her children and her security aides that eventually snowballed into a near fatal brawl.
Our sources said Tunde, who appeared helpless and clearly outnumbered had to flee on foot.
“This was when Mrs. Buhari’s ADC and four members of her police escort fired some shots into the air as they pursued him. He had been seriously wounded at this time but successfully made it to the residence of Mamman Daura where he would shelter for the night,” a source in the Presidential villa told THEWILL.
The source said the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Adamu, following a briefing on the horrific incident arrived the Presidential Villa Friday morning and ordered Mrs. Buhari’s ADC and all the police personnel attached her who took part in the altercation and shooting arrested and detained.
Narrating the ugly incident to THEWILL, the source at the Villa, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “Let me explain what is really going on so that your journal and your readers can truly understand what is happening in the Villa now, the dynamics and 2023 presidential politics.
“Since Mallam Abba Kyari died, the First Lady has been trying to kick the President’s Personal Assistant who is also his nephew, Tunde (The president named him Tunde in honour of the late Tunde Idiagbon, his former deputy when he was military head of state) out of the Villa so that she can effectively wield full influence over him (The President).
“She believes Tunde and the President’s other relatives are blocking her from having full control of her husband and power in the Villa. But it is obvious that the President does not want this because he has encouraged Tunde to continue with his job.
“Tunde’s wife just delivered a boy in Lagos. So, he got the President’s approval to fly to Lagos to see her with his two sisters last weekend. He returned to Abuja last Sunday and returned to work on Monday. He was however asked to self-isolate for 14-days because of the coronavirus pandemic by the Chief Personal Security Officer to the President, Abdulkarim Dauda and the President’s Aide-De-Camp, Mohammed Abubakar, but he told them that the President said he shouldn’t.
“On Thursday, when the First Lady heard that he was still coming to work, she asked him to self-isolate but he told her that the President said he didn’t have to. Her insistence led to a heated verbal exchange between them and the President was later informed about this. The President however took sides with Tunde and didn’t see any reason why he should self-isolate at all. He said Zahra and Halima (Buhari’s daughters) left the villa to visit their in-laws when Halima’s husband’s uncle died recently and they didn’t self-isolate on their return. He also pointed to the fact that when his new Chief of Staff, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, went to Lagos too, he didn’t self-isolate on his return, so he didn’t see any reason why Tunde should. So, he overruled her.
“What happened on Thursday night is a big embarrassment. The First Lady and three of her children – Zahra, Halima and Yusuf – took some policemen attached to her, including her ADC to Tunde’s house. They didn’t like the way Tunde spoke to their mother, so they actually went there to fight him. During their confrontation with him, he was overpowered and clearly could not withstand their number, so he ran for his dear life.
“It was as he was running and they were chasing him that they shot a few times into the air. They chased him to the house of his uncle, Mamman Daura. Of course, they couldn’t enter Mamman’s residence to get Tunde but they shouted and made a lot of threats before they eventually left.
“Do you know that Yusuf later went back to Tunde’s house in the wee hours of the morning with a gas tank to burn it down? Thank God Tunde wasn’t home when he got there. That was what saved his life.
“The DSS is responsible for the security at the villa. Gunshots were fired at the villa and the DSS, that is responsible for security, has not detained the shooters? No one has been questioned. This is even a dangerous precedence for visitors to the villa, including Ministers and top government functionaries.
“This would send a wrong and scary signal. You can be shot at or brutally attacked in the Presidential Villa at the First Lady’s orders if you do go against her. This is not how it should be!
“You see, .. (a Governor and prominent Kano citizen) are the ones using the First Lady to heat up things in the villa since Abba Kyari died because of their interest in the 2023 presidential election. This is what is escalating this whole new fight for full access to the president. She already has the Chief of Staff on her side so she doesn’t want Tunde giving the President contrary views and advise. She wants everyone against her out of the villa but that is not going to happen.”
The Special Adviser to the First Lady on Media, Aliyu Abdullahi, confirmed the ‘arrest’ of Mrs. Buhari’s aides over the shooting incident in the Aso Villa to PREMIUM TIMES.
He said Mrs Buhari was not contacted before the arrest was effected.
He also said several attempts by the First Lady to intervene also did not yield any positive result.
“The police ought to inform her of the arrest before doing so, They can’t keep quiet and when efforts were made to reach out, they refused to answer,” he said.
“Courtesy demands that as the First Lady, You have to offer some information to her before going ahead.
“If you take away somebody sent to protect the First Lady, either recall or arrest, information needs to be passed as to why they are withdrawing the person,” he said.
But in its statement, the PDP expressed worry that the protracted spat between the First Lady, Aisha Buhari, and aides of President Muhammadu Buhari has now degenerated into violent combats, raids and free use of firearms within the Presidential villa.
The opposition party described as distressing, the report that a members of Mr. President’s family were at scene of the assault against one of President Buhari’s aides, during which the First Lady’s security details were alleged to have resorted to the use of firearms.
It adds: “Our party is disturbed by such ugly situation in the Buhari Presidency, which has already heightened apprehensions in the public space over the apparent failure of security architecture and central command system in the presidency leading to such reckless and irresponsible breaches.
” The chaotic situation in the Presidential villa only points to the failure by President Buhari to provide a leadership that can guarantee orderliness in governance and effectively ensure the security of our nation.
” The PDP notes that such leadership failure at the highest level has further exposed why our nation has been bedeviled by myriads of security and economic problems under President Buhari’s watch in the last five years.
“More worrisome is that the Buhari Presidency had failed to speak out on the frightening situation so as to reassure Nigerians and douse the tension in the polity; especially at this critical time when our nation is facing serious security challenges….
” Our party also demands for an immediate inquest into the security breaches as well as the alleged violation of COVID-19 ban on inter-state travels by officials and relations of Mr. President, which was reported to be part of the immediate causes of latest disturbances in the Presidential villa.
“Furthermore the PDP urges the National Assembly to save the nation by wading into the persistent infighting in the Buhari Presidency especially as those in charge of the Presidential villa have not demonstrated the required capacity to engender the needed orderliness for productive governance.”
*Additionalr reports by The Will and Premium Times