The presidency has slammed demonstrators who have been staging protests against President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja, branding them a distraction.
This was disclosed in a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, on Thursday, August 10, 2017.
According to Shehu, the protesters are “an illegal assembly stealthily organised to deliver a blow to the war against corruption.”
He said, “It might be taken for granted that the beneficiaries of the old order are fighting back.
“We have been warned that corruption will fight back. In a country where just one woman, for having the opportunity to serve as minister has N47.2bn and $487.5m of public resources in cash and property traced to her by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, you don’t expect the beneficiaries of that order to allow the Buhari administration some peace.
“They want to distract us. But what the Acting President wants to assure patriotic citizens is that the government will not bend.
“As far as the President is concerned, he has done the needful by handing the reins of authority to the Vice President.
“Since the law of the country does not give a time limit for the President’s return, it cannot be imposed by a saber-rattling group or individual.”
On Thursday, the Coalition for Good Governance and Change Initiative marched the streets of Abuja in support of President Buhari, who has been out of the country for 96 days.
The demonstrators marched from the Unity Fountain to the Presidential Villa as they sang in solidarity with the president’s administration.
The group’s solidarity march is a counter-protest to a wave of anti-Buhari protests that have rocked the Federal Capital Territory (FCT)since Monday, August 7.
The sit-out protest against the absentee president started with the “Our Mumu Don Do” movement led by entertainer and activistCharles Oputa, aka, Charly Boy, who marched from Unity Fountain down to the Presidential Villa on Monday.
On Tuesday, the group, alongside “Concerned Nigerians” group, led by former social media director of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Deji Adeyanju, were attacked by the police when officers fired gas canisters and water cannons to dismiss them.
A protester was injured and had to be rushed to the Federal Staff Clinic Federal Secretariat, while Charly Boy also fainted due to the attack.
Despite Tuesday’s setback, the group marched again in Abuja on Wednesday and Thursday.
The protesters’ full demands are: “that the president either personally or through his aides make the true detail of his health known to all Nigerians; that president should address all Nigerians in a language we can all understand on the true state of his health and other national issues; that he returns to the country and resume work as president of Federal Republic of Nigeria in order to lead us out economic and security quagmire we have been pushed into as a nation; if President Buhari fails, refuses and/ or neglect to do any of the above , then he should resign from office; if he fails to honourably resign, then he should be impeached from office by the national assembly.”
President Buhari left the country on May 7 to resume treatment for an undisclosed illness inLondon, leaving Acting President Yemi Osinbajo in charge of the country’s affairs.
77 days after he left the country, pictures of President Buhari finally surfaced online whenhe met with state governors of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) on July 23, at the Abuja House in London.
Since then, he has met with another delegation of Nigerian governors, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, as well as the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.
The First Lady, Aisha Buhari travelled to London to meet the president on Sunday, August 6, ahead of what is considered to be his return.
The president and his team have insisted that his return is imminent, but there has been no confirmed date.