About 16 months after the 2015 Presidential elections, bodyguards of President Muhammadu Buhari who participated during the campaigns on Thursday protested against their “exclusion” by those they described “cabals in the government.”
They said the only reward they got for their efforts during the campaigns was the N20,000 paid to them in January and February 2015.
They alleged that “some cabals have hijacked the President”, adding that many of the key actors in Buhari’s government, who did not work for him, have denied them access to him.
Speaking at a press briefing addressed by their spokesperson, Badiru Olabiyi Balogun and three other members, Audu Odemeho, Kasim Abdullahi Hassan and Zubairu Idris, the group warned that their marginalisation constitutes security threat to the nation.
“Right now, we need Mr. President to appreciate our hard work for him. We need Mr. President to recognise the fact that we have lost everything because we championed the change agenda.1
“Definitely, it is not just our exclusion that is a security threat to the country.Anything that would deny any man his dues and legitimate rights can be concluded to mean a security threat because when you don’t get your dues and what is rightly due for you, then you are opened to a lot of temptations.1So, we are indeed a security threat”, Balogun stated.
Members of the Presidential Bodyguards which they put at over 100 personnel, were said to have been drawn from security and protocol departments and Buhari Support Organisation.
“During the electioneering campaign, we served the current President, Muhammadu Buhari as his personal bodyguards. That was who we were and that is what we are till now. One would have expected that having worked hard tirelessly and relentlessly for the President to assume the office he had desired all these years, the people that were in the forefront deserved to be recognised, compensated and remunerated, considering the volume of work and gravity of the sacrifices we had to make.
“We had to abandon things that were so dear to us, including our families and the things we were doing before because all of us needed change. We believed that we had all it takes. And now, having done all that we did, nobody has recognised our efforts. All through the 15 months and 90 days of the campaign, not a dime was given to us”, Balogun stated.
Zubairu Idris told journalists that recently, when he went to the Mosque in Aso Rock to worship, the President was elated and exclaimed: “Zubairu (Idris), where have you been? I’ve been looking for you.”
He was thereafter warned to steer clear and never come back to the mosque again for prayer.
“One of the President’s aide warned me never to near or enter the mosque again for worship. He specifically told me to go and worship Allah in another mosque and not the one in Aso Villa because God is everywhere”,
Among Buhari’s aides who were alleged to have denied them access to the President include the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir David Lawal; Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari; Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Ahmed Ali (retd) and Director-General of Department of State Services, Lawan Daura.
Others are the Special Assistant to the President on Domestic Matters Sariki Abba; Special Assistant to the President on Special Duties, Yau Darazzo and the President’s family member, Mamman Daura.
Efforts to get the response of the Director of Press in the Office of the SGF, Mr. Bolaji Adebiyi and Senior Special Assitant to the President (Media and Publicity), Garba Shehu, for response proved unsuccessful.