Aisha Buhari, the wife of President Muhammadu Buhari, has been out of Nigeria for about two months now, raising concerns at the Presidential Villa.
According to Daily Trust, multiple sources at the presidential villa said the president’s wife left the country in protest against “certain developments” at the presidency.
It reported that the first lady, who left the country early August to Saudi Arabia to perform hajj (Muslim pilgrimage), had not returned to the country.
Muslims who participated in the hajj exercise have since returned home, but credible sources at the Villa said the president’s wife has since left Saudi Arabia for London.
“Mama (first lady) is in London. It was from Saudi Arabia that she went to London,” a source told Daily Trust.
Asked when she would return, the source said, “I don’t know. All I know is that she is in London.”
Her absence became obvious after she did not appear alongside her husband at recent official functions.
She was absent during the Eid-El-Kabir celebration in Daura, Katsina State in which President Buhari hosted many dignitaries including Guinean president, Alpha Conde, during the Sallah celebrations.
In early July, the first lady supported her husband to host the Ambassador Extraordinary for Nigeria-Niger Cooperation, together with his wife, Fatima at the State House.
Recently, at public events, Dr. Hajo Sani, the Senior Special Assistant to Buhari on administration, has been representing the president’s wife.
For instance, on September 25, she was represented at an event of the Organization of African First Ladies for Development (OAFLAD), on the sidelines of the 74th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), New York by Dr. Hajo.
According to a statement from the director of information to Aisha Buhari, the event was attended by first ladies of Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, Uganda, and the Niger Republic.
President Buhari was one of the world leaders that attended the 74th UNGA.
However, checks on Mrs. Buhari’s Twitter handle, @aishabuhari, showed that she remained active on the social media platform, as only six days ago she retweeted a post on the war against corruption.
Efforts to get the reaction of her media aide, Suleiman Haruna, was unsuccessful.
In June, Mrs. Buhari announced the change of the title of her office from ‘Wife of the President’ to ‘First Lady’.
Throughout her husband’s first tenure, she was addressed as ‘Wife of the President’.
Earlier, Mrs. Buhari had raised the alarm over the deteriorating security situation in the country.
During a visit to President Buhari’s home state (Katsina), Aisha, who hails from Adamawa State, said it would be unfortunate for people who voted wholeheartedly for her husband to be allowed to be killed unnecessarily by bandits.
She said people must speak out as the killings were worrisome and that if not tackled they could end up consuming everyone.
“When the Katsina SSG spoke out, I sent it to all security outfits in the country. I told them it’s either they go and help out or allow us all to be killed. It is a must for people to come out and speak.
Anything that is not right, people should say it, no matter what,” Mrs. Buhari had said.
Four days to the swearing-in of President Buhari for a second, the first lady faulted the implementation of the federal government’s Social Investment Programmes (SIP). At a programme for women at the State House, Abuja, she said the SIP which had gulped N470.8 billion, had failed in the North.
The SIPs are the N-Power, Conditional Cash Transfers, National Home-Grown School Feeding and Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programmes (GEEP).
Annually, the federal government budgets N500 billion for social investment.
However, in 2016, only N79.98 billion was released. In 2017, N140 billion was made available and in 2018, it was N250.4 billion.
Previously, she had attacked her husband’s administration drawing the worldwide’s attention when she criticized President Buhari in an October 2016 interview with the BBC, saying she feared Buhari’s regime was veering off from its mandate to the people.
Mrs. Buhari also expressed doubt that she would support President Buhari if he sought re-election unless he implemented immediate changes in personnel and policies.
But on the eve of this year’s general elections, Mrs. Buhari constituted a campaign team for President Buhari despite her threats.
The team, with about 700 members drawn from across the country, was inaugurated by President Buhari and played a key role in his re-election.