Ayodele Fayose, governor of Ekiti state, has made a grave allegation against President Muhammadu Buhari, saying his wife, Aisha Buhari, was involved in the Halliburton Scandal.
Is it true?
Fayose alleged that this Aisha Buhari was responsible for transferring $170,000 to an account linked to Williams Jefferson, the prime culprit in the bribery scandal.
In a government sentencing memorandum issued by the Alexandria division of the United States district court for the eastern district of Virginia in 2008, the US justice department confirmed the transaction.
“Government Exhibits 36-87 (6/26/02 $170,000 wire transfer from account in Nigeria in the name of Aisha Buhari to an account in the name of The ANJ Group, LLC, identifying “William Jefferson” as Beneficiary),” the memo said.
IS THIS PRESIDENT BUHARI’S WIFE?
A story by New York Times in 2007, detailing the track of this Aisha Buhari, did not say she was the president’s wife, but that shed claimed to be his daughter.
Joshua Assiba, an African migrant who knew the Aisha in question, said she was a very affluent woman who spent thousands of dollars shopping at a pharmacy in the US.
Assiba, who was a security guard at the time, said he struck up a conversation with Aisha and subsequently became friends, adding that “she told him that her father was the former military ruler of Nigeria, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, and that her American friends included politicians like Mr. Jefferson of Louisiana”.
The international passport of the said Aisha, obtained by TheCable, also shows she is not the same as Aisha the president’s wife.
The faces are clearly not alike.
But her reported claims that she is the president’s daughter would look credible to anyone.
According to the passport numbered A034120637, Aisha is surnamed Buhari, and has a given name Mohammadu, not Muhammadu as the president spells his name, and was born in Daura on August 4, 1975 – four years younger than the president’s wife, who was born in February, 1971.
The passport was issued by the Nigerian embassy in Washington DC on January 19, 2012 – and neither the president’s wife nor his daughter ever lived in the US, and could not reasonably have travelled to the US to obtain a Nigerian passport.
BORN IN DAURA? IS THAT IT?
The president was born in Daura, Katsina state, so was this Aisha, according to the information page on the passport. This shows another disparity, in that the president’s wife was born in Adamawa, not Daura. But with Buhari from Daura, a link could still be suspected.
However, Nuhu Ribadu, pioneer chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), had said in 2007 that the Aisha Buhari involved in the scam was in no way related to the retired general as she claimed.
Ribadu added that he was uncertain if her true name is Aisha Mohammadu Buhari, and that Buhari already said he had no ties to her.
“I don’t have any relationship with that Aisha Buhari. I don’t have any daughter called Aisha Buhari living outside this country. She is not my daughter,” New York Times quoted the president as saying.
Buhari’s fifth daughter, Aisha, was born in 1990 and named after her mother, who is Buhari’s second wife.
Buhari’s first wife, the late Safinatu, had four daughters: Zulaihat, Fatima, Hadiza, and Safinatu. They divorced in 1988.
Aisha also had four daughters: Aisha, Halima, Zarah and Amina.
WILL PROBING HALLIBURTON SCAM UNVEIL THIS AISHA?
President Buhari had through Femi Adesina, his special adviser on media and publicity, said the president would not probe beyond his predecessor, effectively cutting out the Halliburton scam.
“It would be a distraction for the president to begin digging into all former administrations but for a proper take-off of President Muhammadu Buhari’s government, there is the need to look into the immediate past government,” Adesina said.
In the light of recurring revelations about the high and mighty, and an attempt to tarnish the president’s image that one of his daughters or relatives was involved in the scandal, Nigerians are calling for a probe of one of the most notorious bribery scandals in Nigeria’s history.
Should Buhari revisit the Halliburton scam?