Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, (HURIWA) on Wednesday, hit the wife of the President, Aisha Buhari, for rubbing her daughter-in-law’s graduation from a university in the United Kingdom on the faces of helpless Nigerian university students who have been out of the classrooms for over seven months since members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities embarked on strike on February 14, 2022 over the failure of the President Muhammadu Buhari government to cater for the welfare of lecturers of public universities.
HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, in a statement described Mrs Buhari’s action as insensitive and profane, demanding that she apologise to millions of Nigerian students and helpless parents because her action is a slap on their faces and a disregard for their emotions and their plights.
“Congratulations to Mrs. Zahra B Buhari on your graduation with First Class Honors in Architectural Science. Wishing you all the best!” the President’s wife had captioned photos of her son’s wife on social media on Tuesday.
Her comments come amid the seven-month industrial action by ASUU over FG’s blatant failure to meet its agreement with the poorly paid lecturers.
Of note, since May 29, when Buhari came into office, lecturers in universities, polytechnics and colleges of education have embarked on over 900 days of strike.
But amid ASUU incessant strikes, politicians and government officials school abroad and send their children to study in prestigious schools overseas. As though that is not enough, they will rub it on the faces of poor and stranded on social media by flaunting their photos. In July this year, the House of Representative Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, posted a picture of himself while in class at Harvard school.
“Aside from the recent case, Buhari’s children all studied abroad. Nana-Hadiza graduated from the University of Buckingham; Safinatu graduated from the University of Plymouth; Halima from Bellerby’s College, Brighton; Yusuf from University of Surrey, United Kingdom,” HURIWA’s Onwubiko said.
“Other politicians whose children have graduated from tertiary institutions abroad of recent, mostly from the United Kingdom, include Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, former Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, ex-governor of Central Bank of Nigeria Muhammad Sanusi, Rochas Okorocha, Bukola Saraki, Nasir el-Rufai, Badaru Abubakar, Nyesom Wike, amongst hundreds of others.
“Just recently, the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, said there is nothing wrong with Nigerians seeking university education abroad if they can afford it.
“However, how many Nigerian parents can afford the escapist mode of foreign education for their stranded wards and children amid the seven-month-long ASUU strike?” Onwubiko asked.
“Mrs Aisha Buhari displayed the highest form of insensitivity and flagrant disregard for the Nigerian student with her post on the graduation of her daughter-in-law. Everything about her action is wrong and smacks of profanity not at a time when students are protesting ASUU strike and blocking roads and airports all over the country over their continued stay at home whilst the government led by Mrs Buhari’s husband have been aloof and not shown commitment to solve the crisis. Mrs Buhari must apologise to Nigerian students and parents forthwith for such irresponsible comment.
“The elite, it is obvious, is Nigeria’s number one problem. It is perplexing that the President’s family and the elite are running abroad to enroll their wards when they have watched the educational sector in Nigeria collapse wobbly and totally even when they have the onus and resources to avert the disaster and improve the sector.
“In March 2022, the House of Representatives again rejected a bill to prohibit public officials from sending their children and wards to schools abroad without approval of Minister of Education. The bill which was sponsored by Sergius Ogun (PDP, Ogun), was first introduced in 2018 but the lawmakers rejected the bill. This bill must be reintroduced to stop this abominable and irresponsible act by the elite.