Six months after she left for Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, the First Lady, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, has returned to Nigeria.
Aisha, whose Dubai trip was steeped in controversy due to conflicting reports on why she travelled was said to have returned to Abuja on Wednesday evening and was reportedly sighted at the State House, Abuja, upon arrival from the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport.
Although there was no official confirmation from her office as at press time, a top government official told THISDAY that the first lady was back in the country.
“Yes, it’s true, the first lady has returned to the villa,” the senior official said.
Aisha’s last public appearance was in September, 2020 during the wedding of her daughter, Hanan, to Mohammed Sha’aban on September 4, 2020 at the State House.
Since then, she had gone off the radar, including taking a break from the social media.
The first lady also did not make any public statement or appearance on her 50th birthday on February 18.
However, on the International Women Day 2021, held recently, she broke her silence, posting a goodwill message on her Twitter handle, @Aishambuhari.
In the message titled, ‘Message of the first Lady, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Aisha Muhammadu Buhari, on the occasion of the International Women’s Day 2021,’ signed by her, she had lamented the continued abduction of women and girls in Nigeria by bandits and terrorists.
“Today marks the 2021 edition of International Women’s Day. The day offers yet another opportunity for humanity to review and reflect progress made on issues of women and girls.
She wrote: “This year’s theme; ‘Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world’ is a strong call to appreciate the efforts of women and girls in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.
“COVID-19 has had a huge impact on women; disrupted education and careers, lost jobs, descent into poverty, and proliferation of domestic violence. Many have also died or suffered due to lack of access to basic information on the pandemic.
“It is therefore important, not just to continue spreading the message of the COVID-19 protocol, but to remember and support those who have been affected negatively by the pandemic in one way or another.
“Away from COVID-19, women and girls in Nigeria have continued to suffer abductions both in the hands of insurgents and bandits. As a mother, I share the sorrow and agony of the victims and their families.”
An initial report was that the first lady relocated to Dubai over security concerns.
However, one of her aides, Mr. Kabiru Dodo, had dismissed the speculation that she had relocated to Dubai, saying she travelled for medical checkup.
Dodo, at a function in Jalingo, the Taraba State capital, last December, had said: “The first lady travelled for her medical trip. She did not flee the country because of insecurity, she left her children, her husband and family in Nigeria.
“What people are saying is baseless and worth nothing to be considered. I want to tell the whole world that I do speak to her on daily basis and she is ready to return to the country as soon as she is done with the medical treatment abroad.”
Deji Elumoye in Abuja