BY OKEY NDIRIBE AND EMMAN OVUAKPORIE
As the National Assembly resumed from its recess today, scores of youths under the umbrella of Nigeria Youth for Good Governance (NYGG) Tuesday stormed the National Assembly to protest against corruption in the legislative arm of government.
Speaking to newsmen at the premises of the National Assembly, the Leader of the group Comrade Joe Mesele berated legislators for repeatedly getting involved in acts of corruption.
Several of the protesters carried placards bearing different inscriptions. Some of the inscriptions read: “We don’t want corruption any more”; “We say no to corruption in the National Assembly”;
“No more honourable looting”; “Nigerian Youths say no to legislative corruption”; “Let’s sanitise the parliament, the last hope of the masses”.
The NYGG leader said the group was comprised of conscious Nigerian youths who believe in the tenets of democracy, good governance and development and as such “we believe that our democracy must be sanitized of corruption.”
He continued: “The type of allegations and counter allegations coming out of the National Assembly is unacceptable for an institution that should represent the people of this country.
“We feel that as responsible and patriotic Nigerians we should come here today to formally make a presentation in the form of a protest to the National Assembly so that the members would know we are watching them keenly and we are not happy about what they are doing”.
He continued: “Although what is unfolding at the House of Representatives has to do with only allegations against a member, yet there is no smoke without fire.
“We are aware that the member who is facing those allegations has already been removed as Chairman of the House Committee on Petroleum Subsidy to pave way for proper investigation and we support the decision of the House”.
He further stated the Nigerian people were watching and expect the House to perform the duties which have been assigned to it by the constitution.
Said he: “We are common Nigerians on the streets who can equally win elections to represent our people tomorrow in the National Assembly.
“We have also come to let them know that when the next election comes, we would re-elect those of them who are good and replace those who are not good”.
Mesele denied that his group was sponsored to embark on the protest.
Said he: “ We have not seen any Nigerian who can sponsor this group to embark on a protest because we have conscience. Although we are not as organized as we should be, this is not the first time we have marched on the streets to protest against ills in the society. We joined the Save Nigeria Group earlier this year to protest against the removal of fuel subsidy by the Federal Government.
“It was our protest that gave room for the setting up of the Adhoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy by the House of Representatives. The work of that Committee was applauded by the people. But now that many allegations have been leveled against Farouk Lawan the Chairman of that Committee, those allegations have to be thoroughly investigated.”
Although, the group was prevented from entering the chambers of the National Assembly by security operatives, a police officer collected their placards for onward submission to the leadership of the National Assembly.