A Nigerian woman has lost her job a week after criticising Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and President Muhammadu Buhari’s wife, Aisha, on Twitter, Premium Times reports.
According to their report, in the July 5, 2017 tweet, Bolouere Opukiri described then-Acting President Osinbajo as ‘a novice’ for travelling out of the country at a time President Muhammadu Buhari was receiving medical treatment in London and tension was flaring between the executive and the legislature.
In another post five days later, Ms Opukiri threw a shade at Mrs Buhari for railing against some ‘hyenas’ and ‘jackals’ within her husband’s inner circle, suggesting that Ms Buhari might not be as ‘classy’ as former first lady, Patience Jonathan.
The presidential amnesty office, where Ms Opukiri worked at the media unit, saw her abuse of ‘government official’ as a threat to national security and summarily dismissed her as recommended by the public service rules.
Ms Opukiri told the paper her dismissal was a violation of her right to free expression as enumerated in the Constitution and vowed to challenge it in court.
Ms Opukiri’s employment letter implored her to be ‘responsible’ in her conduct while on the job, but did not include a specific guideline about what she could engage in on social media.
Ms Opukiri said she was told that Mr Akande and other presidency officials mounted pressure for her dismissal. However the paper says they were unable to independently verify this claim.
She said the complaints were sent to Mr Akande following an online brawl she had with Segun Dada, another pro-government commentator on Twitter.
“He insulted me as a fat woman and I responded that he should be the last person to call anyone fat because his wife is also fat by nature,” Ms Opukiri said.
Mr Dada confirmed exchanging tense tweets with Ms Opukiri, which they both mutually deleted later, but strongly denied the allegations, saying he had never owned an iPad which was used to send the complaints to Mr Akande as indicated by the e-mail server.
“I have not and will never be personally responsible for anyone losing their job,” Mr Dada told PREMIUM TIMES in a message.
Mr Boroh could not be reached for comments. He was fired as head of amnesty office by Mr Buhari in March. His successor, Charles Dokubo, did not return PREMIUM TIMES requests for comments throughout the week. A spokesperson for the amnesty office made promises to return enquiries about matter but failed repeatedly.
Months after her dismissal, Ms Opukiri was re-engaged early last month by Double Helix Nigeria Limited, a new outsourcing firm contracted by the amnesty office, but she was asked to stop work within the first week. Tidal Streams had been dropped by the office shortly after Ms Opukiri left.
She said Mr Dokubo was asked to dismiss her again when he visited the State House early May.
“They told him they were aware that I had been reinstated and he immediately took steps to get me fired once again to avoid offending the presidency,” Ms Opukiri said. PREMIUM TIMES saw the May 2 employment offer from Double Helix, but could not independently verify claims that Mr Dokubo ordered her termination under pressure from the State House.
Emilia Achor, head of human resources at Double Helix, said the firm rescinded Ms Opukiri’s offer letter because it had “the rights” to do so. She offered no further explanation.