Adelani Adepegba, Abuja
A coalition of civil society groups on Friday protested at the Embassy of the United States in Abuja, against the presence of the service chiefs at the inauguration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election campaign at the Presidential Villa last Sunday.
The group said the presence of the heads of security agencies at the event meant that “they have taken sides with the President and have become lackeys of the ruling All Progressives Congress.”
The protest was led by the Convener, Concerned Nigerians, Adeyanju Deji; Adebayo Raphael (Our Mumu Don Do Movement); Ariyo Atoye (Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy); and Nwazuruahu Shield (Leadership and Accountability Initiative)
Others included Moses Paul (Mad Connect) and Bako Usman, Campaign for Democracy.
The movement said, “We are deeply concerned, that our country’s service chiefs, who were trained to defend Nigeria’s territorial integrity, and the heads of security agencies, who are saddled with the responsibility of protecting lives and properties of Nigerians without compromise, all decided to recklessly abandon their responsibilities and shamelessly attend a function of unbridled partisanship.
“It appears that these security chiefs, who are constitutionally empowered to provide security support for the electoral umpire in the best interest of our country, have taken sides with, and have become lackeys of the ruling All Progressives Congress.”
It noted that the 2019 elections might not be a contest among political parties, “but an ignominious battle between the security agencies who now shamelessly stand with the ruling APC against the opposition political parties in the country.”
The protesters demanded the sacking of the security chiefs for failing to provide solutions to the security crises facing the country.
The group, while presenting a copy of their petition to a US mission official, asked the US to prevail on the APC to stop vote-buying in the country.
“We would like to call the attention of the United States and its allies to the inhumane and undemocratic scheme of vote-buying that is presently being propagated by the ruling APC across the country.
“We believe that this menace is a major attempt by the APC to subvert the will of the electorates by inducing them with money at the polling units,” it alleged.
Atoye accused the military high command of compromising the counter-insurgency campaigns in the North-East, blaming this for the reported killing of over 70 soldiers by Boko Haram on Tuesday.