President Muhammadu Buhari said wife "belongs to my kitchen, and my living room and the other room."
Buhari was responding to comments his wife had made regarding his government.
#TheOtherRoom is trending in Nigeria.
Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari’s comment that his wife belonged in “the other room” has sent a furious hashtag #TheOtherRoom trending in the country.
On a visit to Germany, and while stood next to Chancellor Angela Merkel, Buhari told reporters: “I don’t know which party my wife belongs to, but she belongs to my kitchen, and my living room and the other room.”
Buhari was responding to criticism from his wife about his leadership. In a BBC interview his wife, Aisha, a businesswoman, questioned his leadership and suggested she may not back his re-election bid unless he shakes up his government.
Buhari’s popularity at home has fallen amid a deep recession. He is also battling to stem Boko Haram insurgencies and kidnappings in the north of the country. His wife Aisha has become increasingly involved in advocacy work particularly around helping victims of the Boko Haram conflicts.
Many angry about his comments have taken to Twitter to complain after presidential spokesman Mallam Garba Shehu dismissed Buhari’s comments as just “banter”.
Twitter user Michael B, a social change advocate, wrote that there were no excuses for Buhari’s comments.
Nollywood actress and youth advocate Hilda Dokubo posted an angry video message saying “I am a woman and I do not belong to the other room”.
Many in the country were wondering what Buhari could have meant by “the other room”. TV host and writer Ebuka Obi-Uchendu put the question out on Twitter. While JJ Omojuwa tweeted the other room had to be important hence its coding.
Users have called for a Nollywood film on The Other Room, and quickly designed posters for it. While another post questioned why “the other room” had to be mentioned by the president at a public conference.
Nnakwo Jude Chigozie posted a cartoon ridiculing Buhari’s comments, and the state of his relationship with Aisha following his statement.
User Ebube tweeted Buhari was now “crashing” his marriage the way he did Nigeria’s economy.
Juliet Kego, founder of a women’s leadership network posted that women belonged everywhere.
Politician and government adviser, Lugard Tare-Otu tweeted to the international community that Nigeria’s women were every inch as equal to its men, regardless of the president’s opinions.
While John Marco implied Buhari’s comments would have a negative effect on future generations.
Buhari’s comments have also sparked similar debates on Facebook with some responding with IamWithAishaBuhari and AishaMustNotBeSilenced tags. The Nigerian president has so far not apologized for his statement.
Women’s group Nigerian Feminist Forum noted that while other African countries had made great strides in the representation of women in government, Nigeria still lagged behind.