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 taken a dangerous turn, that could undermine security at the Presidential Villa, with the President’s top Security Aides’ loyalty split between the opposing camps, Page 36 learnt, allegedly.
According to report by WITNESS (not Page 36), the Villa was thrown into confusion on 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, ADC, Usman Shugaba, Escort Commander, and other Policemen attached, 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 that 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.
Sources said that 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 said.
The source added that the Inspector-General of Police, IGP, Mr. Mohammed Adamu, following a briefing on the horrific incident, arrived the Presidential Villa, on Friday morning, and ordered Mrs. Buhari’s ADC and all the Police Personnel attached to her, who took part in the altercation and shooting, to be arrested and detained.
Narrating the ugly incident, 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 should not.
“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 did not 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 did not 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 did not 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 did not self-isolate on his return, so he did not 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 did not 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 could not 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 was not 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, Nasir El-Rufai and Lamido Sanusi 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 does not 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.”
Meanwhile, First Lady Aisha Buhari has urged the Inspector-General of Police, to release her Aide-De-Camp and other Police Aides taken into custody, on the orders of the Police Chief.
In multiple tweets on Friday, via her verified twitter handle @aishambuhari, the First Lady wrote: “That Covid-19 is real, and still very much around in our nation, is not in doubt. Consequently, I call on all relevant Government Agencies to enforce the Quarantine Act signed by Mr. President, and ensure no one is found violating this law and the NCDC guidelines, especially on inter-State travel, without the necessary exemptions for movement of essentials. Anyone who does that should at the very least be made to undergo a 14 days mandatory isolation, no matter who the person is; no one should be above the law, and the Police Command will do well to remember that.
“Finally, I call on the IGP to release my assigned Staff who are still in the custody of the Police, in order to avoid putting their lives in danger or exposure to Covid-19, while in their custody.”
It should be recalled, that in October, last year, similar crisis had erupted at President Buhari’s home, as his wife battled the family of Mamman Daura, the President’s nephew.
Daura’s daughter, Fatima, in an interview with the BBC Hausa Service, on Monday, October 14, 2019, owned up to a video shot at the Presidential Villa.
In the video, the President’s wife was heard asking questions and making comments about being locked out of a room, and demanding that some people should pack their belongings and leave the apartment.
The First Lady and Fatima, in separate interviews with the BBC Hausa Service, shed light on the video which went viral.
Fatima in the interview, said that she shot the video with her phone, “in case something happens”.
On her part, the President’s wife confirmed in a 25-second voice clip on the BBC Hausa Service website, that she was the person in the video in question.
She accused Fatima of recording the incident, while the Security detail did nothing, because the culprit was Mamman Daura’s daughter.