– The protesters were seen carrying placards with inscriptions such as “They can’t kill us all,” “Protect lives not cows,” “Herdsmen are Boko Haram members released by Nigerian government”
– The presidency has reacted to the protests, saying it was organised by ”Nigerian looters”
The presidency says it has uncovered plans by those described as “Nigerian looters” to disrupt the ongoing official visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to London.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), sources in the presidency told State House correspondents on Tuesday, April 10, that the alleged looters and corrupt elements had rented motley crowd of professional demonstrators to protest against President Buhari on his arrival to London.
The sources said: “Barely 24 hours after President Muhammadu Buhari declared his intention to contest for another term in office as president of Nigeria, the camps of alleged looters and corrupt elements within and outside the country have been jolted.
“This has forced them to push panic buttons including renting a motley crowd of professional demonstrators to protest against the president on his arrival into the United Kingdom.”
According to the sources, extremely corrupt Nigerians who are custodians of slush funds stolen from Nigeria, and hiding in UK or are resident cronies of such elements, have colluded to form a league of protesters.
The sources maintained that the protesters’ singular aim was to distract and disorganise the scheduled state visit of the president to England.
President Buhari is billed to hold bilateral talks with Prime Minister Theresa May and other dignitaries.
“Esteemed Nigerians home and abroad, friends and business investors in Nigeria, should please see through the veil of the motive behind the Abuja House, Kensington London demonstration.
“It was an orchestrated act of desperation and a ploy to blackmail and hoodwink the President from concentrating on his anti corruption campaign , which is fast gaining grounds locally and internationally,” an unnamed source told NAN.
The source added that, “this unpatriotic act is not unconnected to the federal government policies to name and shame corrupt citizens and looters; to collate database of Nigerians with homes in UK who are not paying the right taxes, and the hot drive to prosecute all financial defaulters through bilateral and multilateral means.”
A public affairs analyst who preferred anonymity also said “the protest was bench-marked on an assemblage of local grievances and national challenges which the government is already tackling head on.
”Such as the herdsmen versus agrarian farmers clashes, fuel scarcity which no longer exists and trumped up charge of hunger in the land at a time when prices of food items are beginning to drop and inflation on the decrease.”
His view was buttressed by presidency sources who further repeated the position of the president who famously said that “corruption is endemic and Nigerians need to kill it before it kills Nigerians.”
According to the source, it is obvious that this is a clear cut incident of corruption fighting back. The source believed that many of the beneficiaries of corruption and slush funds could not withstand another devastating blow of Buhari’s anti corruption sledge hammer.
“Hence, they are resolute to derail the apple cart in order to save their ugly faces and sit back to enjoy the loot in their personal banks.
“Some of the protesters are not even Nigerians but hired hatchet men paid to do the dirty job. According to security sources, the protesters are said to be bent on embarrassing and humiliating the President throughout his stay in the UK.
“An insider vowed that they will take their demonstrations to the venue of CHOGM holding later in the month in Britain, which President Buhari is attending as a Commonwealth Head of State,” the further source revealed
When contacted, the senior special assistant to the president on media and publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, said while reacting to the London protest that the president would not be distracted from his mission in the UK.
Meanwhile, a youth movement under the aegis of Jagaban Movement, has thrown its weight behind the declaration of President Muhammadu Buhari to seek re-election in 2019.
In a statement sent to NAIJ.com by its national coordinator, Bashir Adegboyega, the group said the president’s re-election bid tilted towards the path of a safer tomorrow and massive employment of human and non-human resources in Nigeria.