Says protest a ploy to derail war against corruption Christopher Isiguzo in Enugu and Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja with agency report
The presidency has commended the Senate for its stance that President Muhammadu Buhari has not violated the law.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Ita Enang, said this in a statement signed by his spokesman, Dr. Sabi Abdullahi, in Abuja friday.
Enang, who was fielding questions from journalists after an interactive session with law students from Akwa Ibom State who visited him in his office, described the Senateâ€™s position as commendable and constitutional.
Enang made the statement while reacting to protests by a coalition of civil society organisations under the aegis of Resume or Resign, Our Mumu don du, and others who are demanding that Buhari should resumes duty or resign if incapacitated.
He maintained that Buhari had broken no law as he complied with the provisions of the nationâ€™s constitution which stipulateds that he must handover to the vice president and duly inform the two chambers of the legislature about his medical vacation.
According to him, the National Assembly is satisfied that the presidentâ€™s absence left no vacuum, and therefore cautioned protesters against creating unnecessary tension in the country.
â€œThe stance of the Senate is very patriotic; very commendable and very constitutional.
â€œThe Senate has always stood upright on matters of national interest, and whenever there is objection or anything that the Senate has objection to, we look at it maturely and amicably and in this particular situation, as in most other situations I commend the senate.
â€œWe thank the Senate for the stabilising statement and for the position they have taken because it is the position of the law of the constitution,â€™â€™ he stated.
The presidential aide said the president was entitled under the constitution to go on medical vacation, saying Buhari had already complied with all relevant sections of the nationâ€™s constitution.
â€œThe president is entitled to, under the constitution, transmit formal letter to the Senate and House of Representatives informing them of his vacation and, until he returns and transmits another letter, the acting president is still in charge and there is no vacuum in the seat of power.
â€œSo all actions of the government like that of the executive, legislature and the judiciary are going on and nothing is affected adversely by the vacation of the President since there is no vacuum in the country,â€™â€™ he added.
Also, the presidency yesterday said attempts to derail the war against corruption, using subterfuge and bluff would not succeed.
The remark was made when members of the Centre for Civil Society and Justice (CCSJ), a civil society coalition staged a counter-protest against â€˜Our Mumu Don Doâ€™ protesters led by Charles Oputa, who have been calling for the return or resignation of President Muhammadu Buhari at the precincts of Aso Rock Villa.
According to the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, the â€˜return or resignâ€™ agitation was an illegal assembly stealthily organised to deliver a body blow to the war against corruption.
â€œIt might be taken for granted that the beneficiaries of the old order are fighting back. We have been warned that corruption will fight back. In a country where just one woman for having the opportunity to serve as minister has N47.2 billion and $487.5 million of public resources in cash and property traced to her by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), you donâ€™t expect the beneficiaries of that order to allow the Buhari administration some peace. They want to distract us. But what the presidency wants to assure patriotic citizens is that the government will not bend.
â€œAs far the president is concerned, he has done the needful by handing the reins of authority to the vice president. Since the law of the country does not give a time limit for the presidentâ€™s return, it cannot be imposed by a saber-rattling musician.â€
Shehu commended the CCSJ for being orderly in its demonstration and urged them to shun all provocations by opponents of government.
Speaking on behalf of the demonstrators, the convener, Goodluck Obi, who said his group had absolute faith and trust in Buhariâ€™s administration, added that his group would sustain the protest at the Unity Fountain, Abuja, for one month.
â€œWe are saying from today, August 10, 2017, we will be holding a rally/protest march here at Unity Fountain for the next one month and beyond in order to send clear and unambiguous message to agents of chaos and disunity that Nigerians are solidly behind President Buhariâ€™s administration based on our democratic mandate entrusted to him on March 28, 2015,â€ he said.
Many youths yesterday hit the streets of Abuja and marched to Unity Fountain to denounce Charlie Boyâ€™s group which has been calling on President M Buhari to return or resign.
The placard carrying pro-Buhari protesters kicked against what they described as rented group which is trying to undermine the peace in Nigeria.
They said those anti-Buhari protesters were agents of corruption and had no reasons to clamour for Buhariâ€™s return because there is no vaccum in governance.
A group, â€˜OurMuMuDonDo,â€™led by Mr. Charles Oputa, popularly known as Charlie Boy, on Monday began an indefinite sit-out at the Unity Fountain, Abuja, demanding Buhariâ€™s resumption of work or resignation.
The Senate has also denounced the protest.
The Buhari Support Organisation (BSO), Enugu State chapter, yesterday rose in defence of President Buhari over his long medical vacation in London, insisting that the president had not violated any known law.
The group therefore berated those behind the resume-or-resign protests led by music star, Charley Boy, and other celebrities under the aegis of â€˜Our Mumu Don Doâ€™, stressing that rather than attack the president, the protesters should redirect their protests to the appropriate quarters.
Chairman of BSO in the state, Chief Anike Nwoga, who spoke to journalists in Enugu declared that the president met all the constitutional requirements before embarking on the trip to the United Kingdom.
He said the protesters should redirect their attention to the National Assembly, where a loan proposal of $30 billion by the president to get the nation out of recession has been gathering dust, describing the protests against the Buhari as needless.
â€œWe are of the candid view that whereas our brother Charley Boy and his group have the inalienable rights to assemble and protest as provided by the 1999 Constitution, and the police have no business to attack them tear gas, however, they should redirect their energy in appealing to the National Assembly that sat for over one year on $29.9 billion procured by President Buhari for the development of our deficit critical infrastructure.
â€œEnugu State chapter of the BSO believes sincerely that the hunger, gross unemployment and abject poverty ravaging our dear country