Protest against Buhari by CSOs mere distraction, says Presidency

Protest against Buhari by CSOs mere distraction, says Presidency

Monday, August 7, 2017 8:18 pm

Protesters demanding the return of President Buhari to Nigeria or his resignation during their procession on Monday. Photo: FEMI IPAYE

The Presidency has described as mere distraction the demonstration embarked upon by some civil society groups demanding that President Muhammadu Buhari should resume office or resign.

Malam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, said this in a statement issued in Abuja on Monday.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the civil society groups were led by Charles Oputa, popularly known as, Charlie Boy.

He maintained that the demonstrators had only succeeded in exercising their freedom under the constitution by embarking on a peaceful protest.

“I wish to respond to media enquiries following demonstration by a few citizens this morning in Abuja. The demonstration is in the exercise of their freedom under the constitution, which guarantees their right to embark on peaceful protests.

“So long as they remain peaceful, we have no problem with them. What is democracy if citizens can’t peacefully demonstrate?

“On the second issue, demanding the President’s return, or resignation or certain explanations, I would say that they have over-stepped their bounds.

“The President has complied 100 per cent with the constitution by handing over power to the Vice-President before proceeding on his vacation.

“He has not breached any law or the constitution by staying away from office to take care of his health.’’

The presidential aide also dismissed insinuation by the protesters that Buhari’s absence had created a power vacuum.

“Equally, there is nothing like a power vacuum in the country, given the competence and general harmony with which the whole government is running.

“Any such calls as being made by this or any other group represent an irrational assault on the constitution and should be ignored by well-meaning members of the public.

“The need of the hour for this country is to rid it of corruption, reform and reinvigorate the economy and to fight crime and insurgency,’’ he added.

According to him, the Buhari-led administration is busy with the reconstruction and rehabilitation of infrastructure all over the country.

“It is creating jobs for the unemployed. It has set its sights on the larger picture of the country’s development, investing in rail and power projects and redeeming the country’s image from the mountains of corruption scandals that have marred it.

“We will not, therefore, be distracted by this or any other groups,’’ he said.

NAN recalls that the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, on Sunday while speaking on Channels TV’s Sunday Politics, also dismissed the demand of the civil society groups.

He said the president would only return after doctors’ certified him fit.


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