The Attorney General of Nigeria, Abubakar Malami, while addressing a press conference, abandoned the country’s official language to speak in Hausa, a dialect native to the majority of the northern region of the country.
A video of Mr Malami, on a segment of an Arise TV programme on Thursday morning showed Mr Malami speaking to State House correspondents in Hausa. The attorney general had been announcing the arrest of secessionist group leader Nnamdi Kanu to press in the native language.
Speaking in Hausa, Mr Malami said Mr Kanu continued to incite the general public especially in South-East Nigeria after jumping his bail, which led to the loss of life and property.
“I want to let you know that when he jumped bail and started inciting the general public to sabotage the peace and unity of the Nigerian state through media platforms like the radio television and social media…It is on that note that I want to announce that the Nigerian government has successfully arrested and brought back Nnamdi Kanu to Nigeria through the help of Nigerian intelligence agency,” Mr Malami said in Hausa.
Though English is used as Nigeria’s official language to ease communication, the Nigerian Constitution recognises three major language groups; Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba.
The Attorney General has faced backlash by citizens on social media for the announcement on national television in a language spoken by a fraction of the country’s 200 million people, without making arrangements for other languages to be represented.
Analysts say Mr Malami’s action was in faithfulness to the Buhari regime’s brazing preference for pandering to Mr Buhari’s northern base in matters of national concern.
The Buhari regime has long been excoriated for being overtly nepotistic. The sentiment has fuelled agitations for self determination and secession in other parts of the country.