The wife of the President, Aisha Buhari, has denied a report linking her with the abuse of privileges at the Nigerian High Commission in London.
In a statement by Adebisi Olumide-Ajayi, her Special Assistant on Media, Mrs. Buhari described the report as “baseless and mischievous.”
“It was not in the interest of Mrs. Buhari to join issues with anyone, but necessary to put the record in proper perspective.
“This is necessary as it concerns her trip to UK and the Nigerian High Commission in London. Mrs Buhari had never travelled with a large entourage to London as reported by the Saharareporters.”
Mrs. Buhari was responding to a Saharareporters story that the Nigerian High Commission in London spends a minimum of £7,000 for hospitality every time she visits the UK.
According to the news media, Mrs. Buhari visited the UK more than seven times in 2016.
“The Mission was also informed that Her Excellency and members of her entourage would be staying at the vacant house/official residence of High Commissioner,” the newspaper reported quoting a High Commission document date July 28, 2016, and signed by Ibrahim Sule, Minister Counselor/Head of Chancery.
“In this regard, given the above scenario, there is the need for the Mission to provide hospitality to the First Lady and members of her entourage. To this end, I wish to kindly recommend to His Excellency to consider and approve the sum £7,000 to carry out the hospitality expenditure for the wife of the President, members of her family and entourage.”
The request was reportedly approved the same day.
But in her statement on Friday, Mrs. Buhari said the Nigerian High Commission in London had never offered any favour either in cash or material to her.
She said the records are not hidden for “non-mischievous reporters”, who intend to inform the people and not to disparage the president’s family.
“Mrs Buhari would have ignored the publication like all such baseless accusations, but for the angle with which the report was presented(which) has a corruption and abuse of privileges connotation,” the statement said.
“This, however, negates the fundamental principles upon which Buhari’s administration thrives.”
Mrs. Buhari also challenged Saharareporters and any other embassy staff to provide concrete evidence to contradict her claims.
“It is on record that the Nigerian High Commission in London did not receive Aisha Buhari at the Airport with any official distinction or privilege as it was accorded other first ladies before her,” she said.
“She never complained or raised dust about any of these act by the High Commission because of the understanding as clearly spelt out and practiced by her husband.
“That public office must be separated from the private lives of the occupants.
“Even her drivers are privately arranged without any recourse to embassy for staff.”