The Personal Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on New Media, Bashir Ahmad, is being widely criticised on social media for a comment he made concerning the conviction of Yununa Dahiru, who was jailed for abducting a minor and impregnating her.
A Twitter user on Friday called the attention of Mr Ahmad to the case of Mr Dahiru (also known as Yunusa Yellow), who was convicted for child trafficking and sexual exploitation of Ese Oruru, a Bayelsa girl.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how the Federal High Court in Yenagoa, capital of Bayelsa State, sentenced Mr Dahiru to 26 years imprisonment for sexually molesting Mr Oruru in 2015 as a 13-year-old girl.
Miss Oruru was later taken to Kano State where she was allegedly forcefully married and impregnated by Mr Dahiru.
“Please Bashir, do something about Yunusa Yellow for Allah’s sake, he is wrongly accused and sentenced, the whole matter is manipulated, we need to appeal for him,” a Twitter user, Hammad Yusuf Saleh, asked the president aide.
In response, Mr Ahmad said: “My brother, I do not have the power to do anything against the judgment of the court, but I will try to contact those whom I think are capable,” he wrote in Hausa.
Many Twitter users jumped on the presidential aide shortly after he made his post, subjecting his comment to various interpretations.
It remains unclear exactly the kind of help Mr Ahmad planned to give Mr Dahiru: whether he wanted to assist in facilitating his appeal or whether he wanted to take other steps to upturn the judgment as alleged.
The presidential aide did not provide clarification as outrage poured over his comment. Rather he tried to walk back from his remark.
“I commented on the Yunusa Yellow saga earlier, without knowing and understanding the details of the case,” Mr Ahmad said as hundreds of angry users stormed his timeline in condemnation of his comment. “Eloping or rather, kidnapping a minor and forcing her to marry you shouldn’t be taken lightly. A condemnable act!”
That however failed to pacify his critics who continued throughout last night and this morning to pour invective on him.
Below are a few of the reactions that greeted Mr Ahmad’s intervention.
@chosensomto: “If young Bashir Ahmad (20+) confessed that he has access to people who are capable of influencing the judgement of a competent court, we can now see how easy it was for this regime to steal our 2019 mandate at the ballot and also influence the Supreme Court to keep it.
@William_Ukpe: Bashir is Chairman Emeritus, Arewa Twitter Rape Apologists. He knew what he was doing. He did not expect a caught because he was dumb enough to think we don’t understand Hausa. He has said worse, and he will say worse.
@rolandi_teeji: It’s not material whether Bashir knew about the nature of the case or not. What’s material to me, is the fact that he outrightly hinted to us, the manipulation and influence over judicial decision by powerful politicians. This is our democracy out the window and in the thrash.
@PA_Nigeria: According to @BashirAhmaad, he will Contact people he knows have the power to do something against the judgement on Yunusa who is a Kidnapper, Rapist and Child Trafficker.
This is a shame considering the position of Bashir unless the person he is contacting is the PRESIDENT.
@Fopara03: A few weeks ago, @BashirAhmaad shamelessly leveraged on his office to encourage a Twitter user to call him if he feels threatened by anyone Today, same Bashir is promising to use the influence of his office to pervert justice to get a rapist off d hook.
@Briticoyemo: In 2015, 14 year old Ese Oruru was kidnapped by Yunusa Dahiru. She was forced to convert to Islam and raped. Yesterday, Dahiru was sentenced to 26 years in prison. Today, Bashir Ahmed, an Assistant to the President, said this in response to a plea for help for Dahiru. 👇🏾 https://t.co/6gS1rMfaR4
@Ayemojubar: Another proof that the executive has pocketed the judiciary. If Bashir could have such confidence to say this in public, the judiciary must be a cheap and “buy 1, get 3 free” commodities in the villa. It’s not a coincidence and this is not the first time.
U-turn too late?
Following the backlash from the public, Mr Ahmad made a U-turn, saying he did not quite fully understand Mr Dahiru’s case before he made his earlier comment.
Despite the president’s aide withdrawal of his comment, came, many refused to be pacified.
Below are some of the comments that followed his latter comment.
@Temibande: Don’t your moral values teaches you that lying is vile, I thought this your fasting period should make you virtuous. This is just to cheap to say the least.
@truthfully83: Medicine after death. An afterthought after a wide range of bashings from Nigerians, for trying to use your position as SA media to @Mbuhari, in influencing the judiciary to soft pedal on the case. @BashirAhmaad, go tell that to the dogs. Perception is worst than reality.
@topeomoekiti: Do u remember u once tweeted Arewa win when Buhari, madam Amina and the other Nigeria representative at the UN conference were pictured together, not until madam @abikedabiri came and corrected u that u have said Nigeria won since they are all representing Nigeria .
@uchena_omooba: Bashir let’s not pretend like you don’t know what’s happening over there in the northern part of our beloved Country, this is what the Rich & educated northern volks will never allow, a minor getting married na wa oh .
@JEFF_FSTRD: Bashir! Why were you quick to comment? I think this is just damage control. You were very active on this street in the days of the abduction. Be like your TYRANT boss with your chest sir. Bashir