A coalition of civil society groups, on Tuesday, begun a sit-out protest tagged #BuhariActOrQuit in Abuja. The groups are displeased with President Buhari’s lukewarm response to the contract scandal in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and other graft-related allegations leveled against top officials.
The coalition is demanding decisive action from the President or he quits. Its members, wielding placards, arrived Abuja’s Unity Fountain at about 900am. The placards bore inscriptions such as “Who Signed $25billion NNPC Contracts?” and “Where Is SGF Report?”
Addressing journalists at the venue, Mr. Abdul Mahmud, President, Public Interest Lawyers League, said President Buhari must act with firmness in dealing with allegations of fraud and looting swirling around principal officials of his government. Mr. Mahmud stated that it is the responsibility of government to institute investigations into the allegations.
He added that if it is established that the alleged infractions were committed, the government should ensure that those guilty are made to face the law.
"Mr. President, on whose table the buck stops, has refused to either initiate an investigation or say a word on these individuals whose hands have been so filthy,” said Mahmud.
On the controversial N43 million found in an apartment on Osborne Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, Mr. Mahmud observed that the report of the investigative panel that probed the matter was submitted to the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, but has not been made public.
"You are on record when you said that you will fight corruption with your last drop of your blood, but now corruption is staring us in the face. Mr. President fight corruption," he challenged President Buhari.
Also speaking at the rally venue, Mr. Dayo Atoye Ariyo, President Coalition In Defence of Nigeria Democracy, charged the President to plug holes through which the country’s resources are being suctioned by government officials. Without doing so, he argued, the President will have no moral justification to request for $5.5 billion loan request.
Mr. Ariyo called on the National Assembly not give approval to the loan request sent by the President, adding that there is no guarantee that the loan will not be looted.
"The first assignment is to stop the looting before requesting for a loan, " Ariyo said.
Equally speaking at the rally, Mr. Charles Oputa AKA Charly Boy, leader of the OurMumuDonDo movement, urged well-meaning Nigerians, particularly the youth to come out and join the protest for the sake of generations yet unborn.
The protesters demanded independent investigations into the various allegations, adding that such will banish criticism that the anti-graft is selective. They vowed to continue the sit-out until President Buhari takes action.
Dr. Ibe Kachiukwu, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, in a recently leaked letter to the President, raised the issue of award of $25billion contracts by the NNPC Group Managing Director, Dr. Maikanti Baru, without recourse to due process.