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Despite arrests, Presidency says villa shooting incident “minor”

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The Nigerian Government Sunday said the shooting incident at the President Villa during the week was a “minor occurrence” but acknowledged it was being investigated.

Garba Shehu, President Muhammadu Buhari’s senior special assistant on media, downplayed the incident, noting that it occurred outside the main residence of the president.

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Shehu said he was surprised at the criticisms that trailed the incident.

“That a minor occurrence is being used by some critics to justify attacks on the government and the person of President Muhammadu Buhari beggars belief,” Shehu said in a statement.

Multiple sources said on Saturday that the security aides of the First Lady were responsible for the shooting. The shooting was an obvious breach of protocol at the villa, a presidency source told The Guardian.

Trouble started when Sabiu ‘Tunde’ Yusuf on Thursday night returned to his residence in the Presidential Villa after an alleged trip to Lagos to visit his wife who put to bed recently.

Sabiu, however, reportedly did not isolate himself after returning from Lagos. The state is the epicentre of Nigeria’s battle against COVID-19, accounting for 7, 035 cases out of 15, 682 confirmed in the country.

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Apart from his travel violating the ban on interstate travels put in place by the presidential Taskforce on COVID-19, Sabiu’s decision not to self-isolate did not go down well with Aisha who expected the presidential aide to self-isolate for 14 days as prescribed by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.

An argument ensued between the two parties and a security aide of the First Lady, according to the presidency source, fired a warning shots inside the Presidential Villa.

The source said, “after he [Sabiu] escaped, he reached out to the IGP” to report the case.

Mrs Buhari publicly called on the police boss to release her aides and alluded to Sabiu’s breach of COVID-19 self-isolation guidelines.

Although Shehu did not mention anything about the arrest of the First Lady’s security aides, he, however, said the shooting incident was being investigated and that the president would not interfere in the matter.

“Armed guards and other security personnel assigned to the State House receive the necessary training of especially weapons handling and where they come short, their relevant agencies have their rules and regulations to immediately address them,” Shehu said.

“Having authorized the proper investigation to be carried out into this unfortunate incident by the Police, the President has acted in compliance with the rule of law.”


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