The police have dropped their charges against Aminu Adamu, an undergraduate at the Federal University, Dutse, Jigawa State, who was remanded in prison on Tuesday over allegations of defaming Aisha Buhari, Nigeria’s first lady.
The discontinuance of the suit according to the student’s lawyer, Festus Agu, comes a day after the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) threatened a nationwide protest to demand Mr Adamu’s unconditional release.
In a statement on Thursday to its members, the association’s president, Usman Barambu, said the protest would take place next Monday.
“We have consulted and consolidated and neither yielded desirable results in seeking the freedom of Aminu Adamu Muhammed, student of the Federal University Dutse, hence the protest shall commence as follows: Monday, 5 December 2022, Nationwide.”
Mr Barambu vowed that the demonstration would continue until the student is released “unconditionally”.
Mr Adamu, who is studying Environmental Management at the university, was arrested on 18 November in Dutse, North-west Nigeria and ferried to Abuja.
The police accused Mr Adamu of using his Twitter handle to defame Mrs Buhari.
After incarcerating the student for nearly two weeks, the police last Tuesday, 29 November, arraigned him before the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court at Maitama.
He was arraigned on a one-count charge of “defamation, cyberstalking and conspiracy,” to which he pleaded not guilty.
The trial judge, Yusuf Halilu, had adjourned Mr Adamu’s trial until 30 January 2023. But the case was brought forward to next Monday, after the defendant’s lawyer, Mr Agu, argued that his client had been billed for his final year examinations 5 on December 2022.
However, in a WhatsApp message to PREMIUM TIMES on Friday evening, Mr Agu said, ” (the) First Lady has withdrawn the charge against Mr) Aminu.”
This newspaper had reported how a team of police detectives and the State Security Service (SSS), trailed and arrested Mr Aminu in Dutse.
Acting on the instructions from Mrs Buhari’s Aide De Camp (ADC), Usman Shugaba, a tracker team led by Festus Josiah, apprehended the student in Dutse on 18 November.
In the allegedly offending tweet, Mr Adamu posted a chubby picture of Mrs Buhari with a caption in Hausa saying, “Mama is feeding fat on poor people’s money.”
The tweet was posted on 8 June but Mr Adamu, trailed by a team of detectives, was arrested in Dutse, North-west Nigeria, on 18 November and whisked to Abuja.
In the one-count charge marked: CR/89/2022, and dated 23 November, the police say Mr Adamu “between May and June 2022 within the jurisdiction of this court, did intentionally open a Twitter handle with the name …Catalyst and screenshot the photograph of her Excellency Hajia Aisha Buhari and wrote on it in the Hausa language… roughly translated to the English language to mean ‘Mama has embezzled monies meant for the poor to satisfaction’ and posted same on your above Twitter handle.. knowing same to be false and capable of affecting her reputation.”
The police said the alleged offence contravened Section 391 of the Penal Code.