Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has responded to criticism from his wife by saying she belongs in his kitchen.
On a visit to Germany, he said:
“I don’t know which party my wife belongs to, but she belongs to my kitchen and my living room and the other room.”
Mr Buhari was standing next to Chancellor Angela Merkel, who reportedly glared at him.
Aisha Buhari had said she might not back her husband at the next election unless he got a grip on his government.
Responding to questions by reporters, Mr Buhari said that having run for president three times and having succeeded at the fourth attempt, he could “claim superior knowledge over her”.
Mr Buhari was standing alongside one of the most powerful women in the world when he said his wife belonged in his kitchen, bedroom and “the other toom”.
In an interview with the BBC’s Hausa language service, she suggested her husband’s government had been hijacked by only a “few people”, who were behind presidential appointments.
She said the president did not know most of the officials he had appointed. “The president does not know 45 out of 50 of the people he appointed and I don’t know them either, despite being his wife of 27 years,” she told the BBC.
His wife’s decision to go public with her concerns will shock many people, but it shows the level of discontent with the president’s leadership, says the BBC’s Naziru Mikailu in the capital, Abuja.
The president’s response to her criticism has been met with outrage on social media.
There was support for the first lady’s comments, but many were at loss to express their dismay his remarks about the kitchen and “the other room”.
A turning point for Nigeria? Analysis by Naziru Mikailu in Abuja
Aisha Buhari campaigned vigorously for her husband in last year’s election in Nigeria, organising town hall meetings with women’s groups and youth organisations across the country.
However, she kept a low profile at the start of the administration and was barely seen or heard. She was restricted to her work on the empowerment of women and helping victims of the Boko Haram conflict in the north-east of the country where she is from.
This is one of reason why this damning interview has caught the attention of many Nigerians.
It is a significant blow for Mr Buhari, who has a reputation for being a tough, no-nonsense president.
Mrs Buhari’s comments also bolster accusations that his government has been hijacked by a small group of individuals.
The comments could also mark a turning point for a government that has clearly struggled to deal with economic recession and is facing growing disquiet within the ruling party.
President Buhari (L) may not be able to rely on Mrs Buhari’s (C) support if he chooses to run again in 2019
Mr Buhari was elected last year with a promise to tackle corruption and nepotism in government.
The Nigerian economy, battered by low global oil prices and a currency devaluation, officially entered recession in August for the first time in a decade.
Oil sales account for 70% of government income.
The president famously remarked at his inauguration that he “belongs to nobody and belongs to everybody”.