From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Supporters of President Muhammadu Buhari, under the umbrella of Coalition for Good Governance and Change Initiative, yesterday began a counter protest in Abuja to renew their support for the ailing president.
The protesters, mostly women and young ladies, were armed with placards bearing several inscriptions and were chanting solidarity songs for the president.
Their actions, Daily Sun learnt was in swift response to the protest by some other coalitions led by popular musician, Charles Oputa, better known as Charlyboy, and Prince Deji Adeyanju, against the President Buhari’s, continued to stay out of the country. Yesterday’s protests led to the fracas over alleged N1,500 hand-out meant for each member of one of the pro-Buhari groups.
Trouble started shortly after the Coalition for Good Governance and Change Initiative (CGGCI) ended its march and participants were discreetly directed to meet coordinators that invited them for the hand-out.
Daily Sun gathered that some coordinators got money from the organisers and wanted to short change some protesters, who quickly reacted somewhat violently.
Coordinator of protesters from Jabi, identified as Mama Arthur, who brought 30 persons had hectic period managing her contingent as most of them insisted they must be given N1,500 each as others. The situation almost went out of hand when two boys named Paschal and Isibor made away with money meant for some of their colleagues.
Meanwhile, the Charlyboy group continued their sit out yesterday, insisting on their demand that the president should return to the country and resume official duties or resign his position.
Regardless, the Presidency has described the “return or resign” agitation as an illegal assembly stealthily organised to deliver a body blow to the war against corruption. It said the beneficiaries of the old order are fighting back, warning that attempts to derail the war against corruption using subterfuge and bluff will not succeed.
Addressing members of a pro-Buhari group yesterday, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu 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. They want to distract us. But what the Acting President wants to assure patriotic citizens is that the government will not bend.”
Police personnel had, on Tuesday, descended on the anti-Buhari protesters with tear gas, flogged them with the popular artist, Charly Boy badly brutalised by the security operatives. The police were also reported to have smashed journalists’ cameras in the process. The brutality meted to the protesters has received wide condemnation. Although the Senate said the president had not violated the Constitution by his long stay in London for medical consultation, having transmitted power to his deputy, the legislative Red Chamber described the action of the police as a violation of the fundamental human rights of the protesters.
The Senate in a statement said: “It is not right for the police to brutalise the people as they reportedly did yesterday (Tuesday). While we are opposed to the subject of the protest, the Senate acknowledges the fact that the protesters have the constitutional right to gather and express their views in a manner that will not breach public peace, order and tranquillity.
“Since the ‘Our-Mumu-Don-Do’ protesters did not conduct themselves in such a manner as to disturb the public peace, it is not right for the police to brutalise the people as they reportedly did.”
President Buhari has been in London hospital for the past 94 days receiving treatment for an undisclosed ailment. (The Sun)