THERE were indications Saturday that shots that were reportedly heard inside the presidential villa, Abuja on Thursday evening, were fired in an attempt to stop Sabiu Tunde Yusuf from fleeing in a getaway car after refusing to self-isolate on return from a trip as required for COVID-19 containment protocols.
Villa sources revealed that the shots were fired near the Artillery gate adjacent to the Officers Mess where Tunde had apparently emerged from as he fled from members of the first family who were intent on forcibly sending him to self-isolate on the suspicion that he may have been exposed to some persons who had contact with the late former Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Maikanti Baru.
Baru died recently from complications associated with covid-19.
Sunday Tribune learned that Tunde emerged from the gate and hopped into a waiting car which was ordered to stop by some police personnel attached to the First Lady, Aisha Buhari.
The sources revealed that about four security officers were on the trail of Tunde, who was seen barefooted as he made his way to the gate while stunned onlookers wondered what the matter was seeing one of the closest aides to the president in that uncomplimentary situation.
It was gathered that a struggle ensued between Tunde and the policemen whose effort failed to stop the car from bolting.
“After Tunde jumped in, the driver drove erratically as he was trying to shake off the policemen and almost damaged other cars parked in the area,” a source volunteered.
It was at that point the shots were said to have been released, the source said.
The latest round of crisis in the first family was exposed by a series of tweets on Friday by the First Lady, Mrs Aisha Buhari, who called on the Inspector General of Police to order the release of policemen assigned to her.
She indicated that some government officials were in violation of the prescribed protocols for the containment of Covid-19 and, therefore, called on authorities to hold such people to account no matter how highly placed.
Mrs. Buhari did not, however, state why her security aides were arrested and detained.
Tweeting on her verified handle @aishambuhari, she stated: “That Covid-19 is real and still very much around in our nation is not in doubt. Consequently, I call on all relevant Government Agencies to enforce the Quarantine Act signed by Mr. President and ensure no one is found violating this law and the NCDC guidelines especially on interstate travel without the necessary exemptions for movement of essentials.
“Anyone who does that should at the very least be made to under go a 14-day mandatory isolation no matter who the person is, no one should be above the law and the Police command will do well to remember that.
“Finally, I call on the IGP to release my assigned Staff who are still in the custody of the Police in order to avoid putting their lives in danger or exposure to COVID-19 while in their custody.”
Reports emerged later that Tunde, working with other power persons, was allegedly the brain behind the arrest of the officials following the move to force him into quarantine.
None of the presidential spokesmen could be reached for comments on Saturday.
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