By Luminous Jannamike
ABUJA – The group of protesters led by activist cum entertainer, Charles Oputa also known as Charly Boy, on Tuesday hit the streets of Abuja to kick against President Muhammadu Buhari’s perceived inaction in the face of multiple graft allegation involving some top officials of his administration.
Over the course of the last 29 months, several allegations of corruption, mismanagement of public funds and outright looting of the national treasury have surfaced against several top officials of government but President Buhari has not wielded the big stick against any of them as anticipated by most Nigerians.
The protest was relatively peaceful, as the police and the Department of State Security (DSS) monitored the activities of Charly Boy and his group; in contrast to what transpired in August when security men dispersed them with attack dogs, water cannons and teargas.
Addressing the journalists during the protest, Deji Adeyanju, the convener of civil society group, Concerned Nigerians, said they were on the streets to ask the President pertinent questions about the seriousness and sincerity of his anti-graft war.
He said: “if President Buhari once ordered the raiding of the homes of judges suspected to be tainted with corruption and also directed the handcuffing and dragging to court of alleged corrupt members of the opposition, we demand similar treatment for the suspended SGF, Babachir Lawal and other top government officials.”
On his part, Ariyo Atoye who convenes pro-democracy group, the Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution (CDNDC), urged the Senate not to approve the $5.5bn foreign loan request made by President Buhari unless he genuine commitment to fight corruption within his own government.
“There is no basis for the $5.5bn foreign loan request, if corruption has not been fought to a standstill.
“The President Buhari also needs to tell Nigerians how the loan would be repaid,” he added.
Former President of National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Comrade Mahmood and the convener of Campaign for Democracy, Bako Usman, contended that if President Buhari fails to take action against allegedly corrupt members of his cabinet, he should quit office.
“You said you will fight corruption and Nigerians voted you on the basis of that promise. Quit office if you cannot prosecute your allegedly corrupt friends. It means you are also corrupt,” they said.
Summing up the speeches by co-conveners of the protest, Charly Boy maintained that the group would not back down on its call for the President to act or quit office if he cannot fight corruption without minding whose ox is gored.