Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari has sparked controversy by claiming his wife "belongs to the kitchen." The leader made the comment in response to a 14 October interview with the BBC, in which Aisha Buhari said she might not support her husband in 2019 presidential election.

"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 said during a press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel during an official visit in Germany.

The Nigerian leader, who took office in May 2015, could be heard chuckling before he made the remark, news agency AP reported.

The remark sparked controversy with people accusing the leader of making sexist comments.

Buhari's response came shortly after his wife told the BBC Hausa service that the Nigerian government had been "hijacked" and alleged that her husband "does not know" most of the top officials he has appointed.

She also claimed that a "few people" were behind presidential appointments.

"The President does not know 45 out of 50, for example, of the people he appointed and I don't know them either, despite being his wife of 27 years," she said. "Some people are sitting down in their homes folding their arms, only for them to be called to come and head an agency or a ministerial position."

The Nigerian newspaper Daily Trust reported on Thursday 13 October that Buhari had allegedly sent a letter to the Abuja Bureau of BBC, asking for the interview not to be aired. It was also being reported that the Speaker of the House of Representative, Yakubu Dogara, had also tried to informally dissuade the BBC from broadcasting the interview.