Nigeria’s First Lady, Patience Jonathan, has denied allegations that she ordered the arrest of the leader of the “Bring Back Our Girls” protest group, Naomi Nyadar, whom she had labelled an impersonator.
Speaking in a statement through her media assistant , Ayo Adewuyi, Jonathan said Nyadar attended the women stakeholders’ meeting convened on Sunday to discuss strategies to ensure the release of the abducted children of Chibok Girls secondary School, but left the Presidential Villa along with other members of the Borno State delegation after the meeting ended at 3:00am.
“We wish to state without any iota of equivocation that the first lady did not order the arrest of any woman or anyone for that matter before, during and after the meeting. Naomi left the State House with other members of the delegation.
If she was arrested as claimed, then enquiries about her arrest should, therefore, be directed to the security agencies,” Adewuyi stated.
As to labelling Nyadar an impersonator, Adewuyi explained that the women at the meeting were alarmed when someone who knew Nyadar said that she was impersonating one of the mothers of the alleged abducted children on the basis of which she attended the occasion.
“The women expressed their disappointment when she confirmed that she is not a biological mother to any of the abducted children,” the spokesman said.
But another leader of the protest, Saratu Angus Ndirpaya, told the Associated Press that State Security Service, SSS, agents drove her and Nyadar to the police station after the meeting at the presidential villa in Abuja but that the police immediately released her, while holding on to Nyadar for unclear reasons.
She noted however, that during the meeting the First Lady expressed doubts there was any kidnapping and accused them of belonging to the Boko Haram group and of fabricating the abductions.
“She told so many lies, that we just wanted the government of Nigeria to have a bad name, that we did not want to support her husband’s rule,” she said in the telephone interview with AP.
Nyadar was released Monday afternoon after 12 hours of detention but has not spoken to the press about her arrest.
Police spokesman, Frank Mba, said Nyadar was not arrested or detained as alleged, but was merely invited for interrogation.
“It was purely an interactive and fact finding interview. Mrs Nyadar cooperated with the Police in the course of the interview and was immediately allowed to return home to her loved ones. She was never arrested nor detained as being wrongly speculated in some quarters,” he said.
He maintained that the Police and other security agencies will leave no stone unturned in ensuring that the abducted school children are rescued.