The First Lady, Aisha Buhari, has made her first public statement in months on the occasion of the 2021 International Women’s Day, lamenting about the abduction of women and girls in the country by criminal elements.
In a statement published on her Twitter handle on Monday, Mrs Buhari bemoaned that the recent spate of abduction of women and girls has not only created trauma for the victims and their families, but may also roll back the gains of promoting girl-child education and eradicating early marriages in the country.
“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.
I am also not unaware of the impact that these abductions could have in reverting many successes we have hitherto achieved, especially in terms of girl-child education and early marriages,” the statement read.
The First Lady called on all stakeholders to exert their different levels of influence towards bringing the mass abductions to an end and assure women and girls that they are safe wherever they are in the country.
She also noted that the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has had a drastic impact on women health-wise and career-wise.
She said the theme of this year’s IWD celebration: “Women In Leadership: Achieving on Equal Future in a COVID-19 World”, is apt as it recognises the efforts of women and girls in the fight against the 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,” she said.
Mrs Buhari was last seen or heard in public in September 2020 shortly after the wedding of her daughter, Hanan.
Speculations were rife that the outspoken First Lady has relocated to the United Arab Emirates. However, one of her aides, Kabiru Dodo, said Mrs Buhari was on a foreign medical trip.
But no word was heard from Mrs Buhari publicly when her husband, President Muhammadu Buhari, turned 78 in December 2020 or when she clocked 50 years on 18 February.