This week, the Department of State Services (DSS) announced that it had arrested a woman known as Amina Mohammed or Justina Onuoha, who paraded herself as Nigeria’s First Lady, Aisha Buhari.
In an era of clones and body doubles, the story of how the fake first lady allegedly operates, is an interesting one.
According to DSS spokesperson, Peter Afunanya, Amina once paraded herself as the First Lady of Kogi State before gaining access to Nigeria’s presidential villa as First Lady Aisha Buhari.
Afunanya said; "Amina Mohammed, also known as Justina Oluoha, Amina Villa, had on the November 22, 2017, paraded herself as the First Lady of Kogi State. She used the false identity to invade protocol and scrutiny thus gaining unauthorised access into the Villa and particularly the residence of the First Lady and Wife of the President, Hajia Aisha Buhari.
"She took advantage of the fact that personalities as first ladies, ministers and certain categories of officials are not taken through rigorous protocol and security checks at the Villa post.
"What may even surprise you is that Amina, whose phone number is registered with the name Amina Villa, had on the said date, invited one Dr Alexander Chika Okafor, also known as Chikason, into the Villa wherein she made him believe the invitation was at the instance of the First Lady.
"Investigation has revealed that the First Lady was away on lesser hajj and not in the Villa during the period. Dr. Okafor had complained that he was fleeced of over N150m in respect of a Court of Appeal property in Lagos which Amina had promised to help him buy through the First Lady”.
In a nutshell, ‘Amina Villa’ has been accused of impersonation and fraud by the DSS. What is even more disturbing is the manner the suspect was harassed by DSS operatives and journalists during her parade.
Whatever Amina Villa’s sins, she’s still a suspect until the court convicts her of the crimes. But you wouldn’t know that from watching that video. The suspect was treated like a common criminal, even though it was clear that she had reported herself to the DSS on the day. She was mobbed by journalists, hounded under a table and made to sob uncontrollably while pleading that she be left alone.
In that instant, Amina Villa’s rights were violated and trampled upon. And we do that a lot in this country. Law enforcement parades suspects and invites the media over. The photos of the suspects are splashed all over the internet the next minute even though no court in the land has pronounced them guilty. The police and other security agencies really need to end this practice where a suspect is pronounced guilty until proven innocent.
The DSS goofed here and they need to stop the charade and drama forthwith. Amina Villa allegedly gained access into the presidential villa. That’s a serious case of security breach right there. The nation should be worried that a ‘random woman’ freely gains access into the highest office in the land and that this suspect has successfully impersonated First Ladies. She should also be cajoled into volunteering information that could lead to the arrest of other suspects and the crackdown of her impersonating syndicate.
No one, not even a fake First Lady, deserves to be treated the way ‘Amina Villa’ was hounded in that video.