Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja
The Presidency is not losing sleep over protests being planned by a coalition of five civil society organisations against the continued absence of President Muhammadu Buhari from office, The PUNCH has learnt.
The indefinite protests are scheduled to start on Monday (today) in Nigeria and London, United Kingdom.
Mr. Charles Oputa popularly called Charlie Boy and other prominent Nigerians will be leading the protest at the Unity Fountain Abuja by 10am while the London protest is scheduled to hold at the Abuja House, London by 11am (UK time).
The protesters will be demanding the return or resignation of Buhari who has been receiving medical attention in London since May 7.
When contacted on Sunday, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, said it was part of Nigerians’ democratic rights to protest.
Adesina said the present administration would not take any step to abridge the rights of Nigerians which included the right to participate in peaceful protests.
“Protests are legitimate in a democracy. It is part of democratic rights of the people. This is not a government that will abridge the democratic rights of anybody,” the presidential spokesman said.
The protests are being promoted by the National Coordinator, Foundation For True Freedom and Good Leadership, Deji Adeyanju; Publicity Secretary, #OurMumuDonDo Movement, Adebayo Raphael; Convener, Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution, Ariyo-Dare Atoye; and Secretary of Concerned Nigerians, John Danfulani.
Adeyanju was quoted to have said the protests would be sustained till ‘the Presidency offers explanation on the true state of health of the President’ who has spent over 90 days outside the country.
Buhari had on May 7 embarked on his second medical trip of the year shortly after receiving the 82 Chibok girls who were released by their captors the previous day.
Adesina, had announced shortly before the President left the country that the duration of his stay in London would be determined by his doctors.
He added that the President had written to the National Assembly in compliance with Section 145 (1) of the 1999 Constitution
The statement read, “President Muhammadu Buhari proceeds to London tonight for follow-up medical consultation with his doctors. He had planned to leave on Sunday afternoon, but decided to tarry a bit, due to the arrival of 82 Chibok girls who arrived in Abuja earlier in the day.
“The President wishes to assure all Nigerians that there is no cause for worry. He is very grateful for the prayers and good wishes of the people, and hopes they would continue to pray for the peace and unity of the nation.
“The length of the President’s stay in London will be determined by the doctors. Government will continue to function normally under the able leadership of the Vice-President.
“President Buhari has transmitted letters about the trip to the Senate and the House of Representatives, in compliance with Section 145 (1) of the 1999 Constitution.”
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