HOLIDAYING former President Goodluck Jonathan has dashed into Abuja to launch a protest, The Nation has learnt.
Dr Jonathan is disturbed by the determination of President Muhammadu Buhari to probe how $2.1billion was illegally withdrawn from the Excess Crude Account (ECA), sources said yesterday, pleading not to be named “because of the sensitivity of the matter”.
Jonathan is said to be planning a protest to the Gen. Abubakar Abdulsalami National Peace Committee for 2015 General Elections that:
•the Buhari administration is trying to blackmail him and his erstwhile cabinet members;
•he is not pleased with the corruption tar being put on his administration; and that
•he is worried by the likely probe of the whereabouts of the $4billion taxes and dividends paid by the Nigerian Liquified Natural gas Ltd between 2009 and 2014.
Jonathan and some of his ministers are said to be angry that Buhari ought to know that such taxes and dividends are remitted to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
Another matter troubling Jonathan and his ministers, according to sources, is how the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) under his watch allegedly blew N3.8trillion in three years.
The Abdulsalami Committee is yet to have audience with Buhari on the allegations made by Jonathan, a source said.
The former President arrived in the country last weekend to “defend his administration”. He could not be reached for comments last night.
It was, however, learnt that he had chosen to table before the Abdulsalami Committee some issues, including the controversial $2.1billion withdrawn from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) without recourse to the National Economic Council(NEC).
A source said: “The former President returned into the country at the weekend but he is unhappy with the bashing of his administration.
“Jonathan believes that Buhari is blackmailing him and his ministers, contrary to the terms of the 2015 poll peace agreement which led to a smooth transition from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC).
“I think Jonathan approached the Abdulsalami Committee so that he will be left alone by Buhari who openly said he inherited an empty treasury from his predecessor.”
A former minister in the Jonathan administration, who spoke in confidence, said: “The ex-President is unhappy that the administration of Buhari has been stigmatising his administration instead of putting him into confidence on issues.
“For God’s sake, let them allow this man to earn his well-deserved retirement. If there is any observation by the new government, there are standard official procedures of addressing such.”
NEC, on June 29, raised a four-man panel on how NNPC spent N3.8 trillion in three years.
The four ‘wise men’ are Governors Adams Oshiomhole (Edo), Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom), Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna) and Ibrahim Dankwambo (Gombe).
While awaiting the submission of the committee’s report, Oshiomhole joined issues with the immediate past Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on how $2.1billion in ECA was disbursed without approval.
He said the $2.1 billion, only $1 billion was paid to oil marketers as fuel subsidy and about $1billion used for election purposes.
Although Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala claimed that the ex-President approved the spending of $1 billion, Oshiomhole said Jonathan had no right to do so.
He said any withdrawal from the account ought to be approved by NEC.
Popular Nigerian DJ, Switch, has opened up on what happened in Lekki on Tuesday night.
Known as Obianuju Catherine Udeh, Switch said she counted 15 dead bodies during the shoot-out.
In a video she posted on her Instagram page, Switch asked the authorities not to insult the intelligence of Nigerians when giving their own account of what happened on that day.
According to her, the military aimed at endsars protesters as they fired gunshots. She also said that SARS officers came in after the military had left and also attacked them.
According to Switch she and others present counted over 15 bodies.
‘‘I just want to clear a few things that I have been seeing online. To our leaders, I urge you please do not minimize the suffering of families. Do not insult the grief of Nigerians, do not insult the intelligence of Nigerians. Do not insult the pains the families are facing.
People were falling left and right. Yes there were soldiers there. Another part that people are not talking about is that the police also came. The SARS people we are talking about, they also came, some maybe 40-45 minutes after the soldiers left.
We were teargassed. The teargass was like Cotonou pepper mixed with acid. We were running. We would run and we would come back and the only thing we fought with was our flags. We would sit on the floor and we would raise or hands up, raising our flags and singing the national anthem. That was all we had.
They put off the lights. Even if there was no power in that axis, there was always light at the tollgate. There was no lights. The street lights were off. It was pitch black.” she said
Speaking further, she said
”A boy jumped on me and was shouting cover her, cover her. I didn’t even understand why he did that. They shot that boy on my back. I fell and while the soldiers were picking their shells, we were running around and picking their shells too because we wanted proof.”
She showed photos of bullet shells picked from the ground. She showed the one that was fired close to her ears and the one that was removed from someone’s lap.
The military, they were there on Nigerian soil, killing Nigerian citizens. The police and their SARS like people came doing the same thing, aiming and shooting. They were pointing the gun at us and shooting live bullets. Who takes live bullets to a protest?
To our leaders, I urge you to please not insult the intelligence of Nigerians and the families.”
DJ Switch expressed regrets that she and others allowed the military to take the bodies of the deceased persons.
”Something I think of in hindsight I wish we hadn’t done it but we carried dead bodies and dropped at the feet of the soldiers so that they could see what they did to us. When I asked their unit commander why are you killing us? I wish we didn’t do that because they ended up throwing the bodies in their van. This was up until the next morning.” she said
She dissociated herself from the social media accounts claiming she said 78 persons died. She said she and others counted 15 dead bodies.
”I never said 78 people died. What I do know is that when I was doing the live, 7 people had died. When my phone died, we had counted about 15 people. I don’t know if it was more than that. We had a lot of people stray bullet wound, gunshot wounds, and all that.
People did die. It wasn’t photoshopped. I must be a tech genius to photoshop a live feed.” she said
She dismissed reports that her cousin died in the incident.
Thanking everyone for their prayers and support, DJ Switch said
”We must continue to move. We must continue. If we stop I fear it will probably be the next 60 years before we talk about this again. We must continue peacefully. I condemn any sort of violence. I condemn the burning of buses and peoples livelihood. ”
Popular music entertainer, Burna Boy has stated that if the recent end SARS protest by Nigerian youths doesn’t yield any positive result, then the future holds nothing for the teeming youths in the country.
The ‘On the low’ crooner stated this in an interview with foreign media, Sky News.
The interview comes two weeks after protests began, sparked by a video showing a man being beaten, apparently by police officers from SARS (Special Anti-Robbery Squad).
Burna Boy, who spoke to Sky News from London, said: “It is shocking when you see it happen in that place, in such a place, that was the landmark of everything.
“The Lekki Toll Gate, that was the most peaceful place to protest, the most peaceful venue in the whole country and then that is the place where [the shootings] happen. It is not something that you can just wrap your head around.”
The best-selling Afrobeats artist, who has mixed rap, funk and dancehall influences on international hits like On The Low and Ye, said nationwide protests against SARS have changed the nature of politics in his homeland.
“This is the most important moment in Nigeria’s history… that is what we are witnessing right now because if nothing changes after this, if this doesn’t work, then it is over.”
When asked what he meant by this, he replied: “Look at what is going on right now: the youth have come together, like something unexplainable (sic), something that no one man could have possibly organised or led, the youth of the largest black nation in the world came together, said enough is enough and this was triggered by police brutality.
“It’s not like it was triggered by all the other things that it should have been triggered by all these years.”