ABUJA—A rally meant to persuade the National Assembly to commence impeachment proceedings against President Goodluck Jonathan over the lingering Rivers State crisis was weekend prevented by the Nigerian Police in Abuja.
The protest, which had the support of General Muhammadu Buhari, Tunji Braithwaite, Ben Nwabueze, SAN, Mike Ozekhome, among others, was planned by over 49 groups of eminent Nigerians who fused under an umbrella known as United Nigerians Group, UNG.
The grouse of the group against President Jonathan hinges on the current state of the nation which, according to it, was affected by insecurity.
Amongst other reasons advanced for the protest was also the lingering Rivers State political crisis which the group fingered President Jonathan to be the mastermind.
It further accused the President of lacking the political strength to curtail the insecurity in the country.
Co-Convener of the Mass Protest, Alhaji Shettima Yerima, who spoke to Vanguard condemned the action of the Police which stopped the rally last week.
He said: “The protest was supposed to commence Wednesday last week. But all of a sudden, on Tuesday, we got a letter from Force Headquarters, by the IG restraining us from holding any peaceful protest or rally and what we did to prove that we are law-abiding citizens was to formally write to the Police that we intend to hold a peaceful rally and we are marching down from Berger Round-About to the National Assembly, telling them that we need their protection.
“We are not asking them for permission because we knew that under the constitution, there is a law backing us to hold peaceful protest as free citizens of the country. The next thing we saw was a letter that we are being restrained from organising any rally. It has been banned. To us, we felt it was an abuse of our right.”
Yerima who is also the National President of Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, AYCF, however, stated that the stoppage was a blessing to them as the group was strategizing and recording an influx of more Nigerians who have invested interest in the rally.
“We are protesting because there are reasons that the present government is long overdue for impeachment. Let me cite a common one. Rivers crisis is enough to impeachment the President. We can state more than 10 reasons but that of Rivers State is worth it and we will ensure that justice is done because we can’t afford to fold our arms and watch some class of people who never fought for democracy to destroy the democracy we made sacrifice for only because they are privilege to be in power.”
Reminded that the Presidency had consistently denied any involvement in the crisis, Yerima said such was already expected.
He said: “Of course, you don’t expect them to admit that they are part of it. They will always claim that they are not part of it. With insecurity, with the kind of casualty situation we are getting, it clearly demonstrates that this President lacks the strength to handle the affairs of the country and to that extent we are saying that Nigerians must rise up and save this country so that it will not be destroyed.
He added that: “We have over 49 organisations that came together and formed this movement as a coalition. We have other resource people that we reaching out to. Already, we are in touch with ASUU. We are moving ahead to meet with people like Buhari, Balarabe Musa, Tunji Braithwaite, Mike Ozekhome, Ben Nwabueze, so many of them. Hopefully, they will be at the rally because, they have shown interest”.