A group of protesters, under the auspices of Citizens’ Action to Take Back Nigeria (CATBAN), on Tuesday, stormed the National Assembly to protest what they said was the siphoning of money meant for constituency projects across the country.
The protesters also decried “budget padding” and ‘illegal insertions” in the 2018 budget.
The protesters who blocked the entrance into the National Assembly, specifically called for the resignation of Senate President Bukola Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara.
They carried placards with several critical inscriptions, among them: “Our lawmakers are inserting illegal projects in the budget. They now compel the use of their corrupt contractors. The national assembly is not for armed robbers; We demand the arrest and prosecution of budget offenders in both legislative and executive; Where are the killers (in the) National Assembly? We have not forgotten Offa robbery and Kogi assassination so soon; Are you for the people and the constitution or for the projects and contracts?. Nigerians are not represented in the sharing of the loots via constituency projects Saraki must resign and stop mocking the dead. The world is waiting; Dear Legislators, diversion of thousands of projects in the budget is tantamount hijacking of budget.; Dino is sick to attend court sessions but he is first to act drama in Abuja Maitama; Constituency project is now corrupted, it must be formatted,” among others.
Combined efforts by security agents to disperse the protesters by the use of teargas were futile, as the adamant crowd threw rocks and logs at As at the time of this report, police officers were trying to disperse the crowd with at moving the security operatives, including passersby in their vehicles.
Convener of CATBAN, Ibraheem Wala, who tried to gain access into the National Assembly premises, said the arcade was designed as an arena for Nigerians to converge and air their protest, and sought the cooperation of the security agents to allow him and members of his group, exercise their rights.
“We are calling on the attention of the police to understand that these Nigerians are not here in their own personal capacity. They are representing other Nigerians. We want a situation whereby if we vote for a representative, the representative should help the people not their own personal gain. We expect the security operatives here to respect us as citizens and let us exercise the rights bestowed on us. We are here in a peaceful way, so please don’t deny us our rights,” he said.
Wala told journalists that the leaders of the National Assembly (Saraki and Dogara) no longer had the moral standing to remain in office.
“They have shown that they lack the requisite credibility and moral capacity to hold the position of authority. It is clear that the insertions are huge, which also signifies the size of the criminality behind the intent to hijack the budget,” he added.