A rally held yesterday in Abuja in support of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration was disrupted by over 100 security personnel.
The protesters, comprising young and old people, had converged on the Unity Fountain in Abuja, from where they later marched to the Presidential Villa to register their support for the government of Buhari.
The development underscores the support of many Nigerians the president still enjoys despite the protests against his administration across the country last week over the state of the economy.
The Guardian gathered that the protesters were, however, stopped just before the first gate of the villa by heavily armed security agents who insisted the rally must not go beyond the vicinity of the United Bank for Africa (UBA) where they were forced to stop.
While an argument, which ensued between the conveners and the security personnel lasted for about two hours, more soldiers and armoured police vehicles were drafted to the scene. But this could not deter the protesters as they insisted to be addressed by the authorities in the villa.
Shortly after, they made a return to their takeoff ground at the Unity Fountain where a Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media, Mallam Garba Shehu addressed them.
Shehu had not completed his solidarity speech when the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, David Babachir Lawal also arrived at the scene, apologising for the action of the security personnel.
While addressing the rally, Lawal said: “President Buhari will outlive those wishing him dead.” He attributed the anti-Buhari protests to those who looted the nation dry and are now bent on causing confusion despite the president’s efforts to redirect the country on the path of genuine development.
“The government of the day is encouraged by such support from patriotic Nigerians. With such solidarity, the government is being gingered to do more in the interest of all.”
He told the people that Buhari did not anticipate the degree of the current challenges bedeviling the country, expressing optimism that Nigerians would start reaping the full dividends of democracy in every form in a year’s time, even as he called for more support for the government to fight corruption to the finish.
The convener of the rally, Moses Abdulahi described the gathering as the most patriotic stance taken by those present, saying it couldn’t have come at a better date.Abdullahi attributed the current economic hardship to the level of corruption witnessed under the previous administration.