A Nigerian woman has reportedly lost her job a week after criticising Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Twitter.
Last year, the Nigerian woman, 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.
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 two tweets and other similar rants against the Buhari administration figures were seen by the presidential amnesty office, where Ms Opukiri worked at the media unit, as a threat to national security and summarily dismissed her as recommended by the public service rules.
Ms Opukiri said her dismissal was a violation of her right to free expression as enumerated in the Constitution and vowed to challenge it in court.
Her dismissal letter, said she made ‘false claims’ against a ‘government official’ in her July 5 tweet. The claims were ‘prejudicial to state security” and also “inimical to the image of the Office of the Special Adviser to the President on Niger-Delta Affairs.”
The office based its actions on public service rule (PSR) 030407, which defines ‘false claims against government officials’ as a serious misconduct for which an employee should be dismissed as ultimate penalty.
Ms Opukiri was posted to the amnesty office as an in-house consultant on the re-integration of rehabilitated Niger-Delta militants as part of the amnesty programme launched by late President Umar Yar’Adua.
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.
Chris Ngwodo, a political analyst, said Ms Opukiri was “serving at the pleasure of the president” and should not have used her social media account to issue uncomplimentary remarks against his administration.
According to Mr Ngwodo, while Mrs Buhari is not a public official but a public figure, Ms Opukiri’s reference to the Vice President in her posts, meant that her dismissal letter was accurate in describing her as having attacked a government official.
Even so, the analyst said Ms Opukiri could seek legal counsel for clarification of any potential ground for challenging her dismissal.