Zainab Kassim, a former Personal Assistant to Nigeria’s First Lady, Aisha Buhari, has sued the latter for kidnapping and assaulting her in the Presidential Villa.
Mrs Kassim worked as a personal assistant to the first lady for four years, from June 2015 to September 2019, and was later appointed as a special assistant to the president in the Office of the First Lady from September 2019 to February 2022, when she was disengaged.
Mrs Kassim claimed in a statement signed by her lawyer, ‘Deji Ajare, that she was kidnapped by SSS personnel and taken to the presidential villa, where she was beaten by the first lady.
She sought N100 million in damages and the return of her seized Note 20 Ultra mobile phone.
“On 18 November, 2022, acting on the orders of Mrs. Aisha Buhari, DSS officers abducted Mrs. Zainab Kassim and took her to the Presidential Villa where she was severely assaulted, dehumanized and abused by the first lady herself and officers of the DSS and Police, on unsubstantiated accusations of deleting the first lady’s posts on social media,” the statement said.
“Mrs. Zainab was eventually detained in very horrible conditions for four (4) days and she was denied access to her family, lawyers and to her medications even though she informed them that she was hypertensive. In the course of her incarceration, she fainted and had to be rushed to hospital for medical treatment.
“Even after her release, persons acting on behalf of the first lady have continued to threaten and harass Mrs. Zainab Kassim not to attempt to seek redress in court over the breach of her rights by the first lady.”
The statement said Mrs Kassim had filed a fundamental rights enforcement suit against Mrs Buhari, the director-general of SSS and the inspector-general of police at the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja.
Mrs Kassim’s prayers are as follows:
a. A DECLARATION that the abduction, arrest and detention of the Applicant between 18th of November, 2022 and 22nd of November, 2022, and the threat to further arrest and detain the Applicant by agents of the 2nd and 3rd Respondents on the orders and directives of the 1st Respondent, without an order of Court is unconstitutional, unlawful, illegal, null, void and constitutes a violation of her rights to personal liberty and freedom of movement.
b. A DECLARATION that the torture, brutalization and dehumanization of the Applicant by the 1st Respondent and agents of the 2nd and 3rd Respondents, on 18th of November, 2022 is unconstitutional, unlawful, illegal and constitutes a violation of her right to dignity of human person.
c. A DECLARATION that the threats by the agents of the 2nd and 3rd Respondents to the Applicant, of further abduction, arrest, detention and assassination of the Applicant if she brings any claims for fundamental rights enforcement against the Respondents is unconstitutional, unlawful, illegal, constitutes torture and a violation of her rights to life, fair hearing and dignity of human person.
d. AN ORDER restraining the Respondents either by themselves or their agents or subordinates from further abducting, arresting, detaining, torturing or threatening to abduct, arrest, detain or assassinate the Applicant or otherwise violating the fundamental rights of the Applicant.
e. AN ORDER directing the 2nd Respondent to release the Applicant’s Note 20 Ultra Mobile Phone to her immediately.
f. DAMAGES, jointly and severally against the Respondents, in the sum of N100,000,000.00 (One Hundred Million Naira) only.