SOME Nigerians in the United Kingdom have identified four people in the foreign country as the ones recruiting people for pro-President Muhammadu Buhari rally at the Abuja House in London.
Sources identified the Nigerians in the Diaspora renting people for pro-Buhari protest over there as Dr Lee akin Badeji, Dr Mustapha Abdullahi, Hon lady Edith Nwachukwu and Prof Ali Babatunde Alao.
“These people have been renting a crowd and calling people to participate in pro-Buhari protests. They have been offering money to people to entice them,” one of the sources told SaharaReporters.
President Buhari had proceeded to London, the United Kingdom, Tuesday March 30, 2021, for a routine medical check-up.
Presidential spokesperson Femi Adesina had said the president would return in about two weeks.
The president and members of his immediate family routinely travel for medical treatment in the UK while Nigerians have to rely on the abysmal healthcare services in the country amid poor funding, which has killed many of them.
The announcement of the president’s latest trip coincided with the announcement by residents doctors in the country that they would go on an indefinite strike over nonpayment of some allowances.
Meanwhile, a crowd of Nigerians have been gathering at the Abuja House in London, residence of the president, to demand that he return to Nigeria for his medical treatment.
For instance, on April 1, a crowd of Nigerians in the United Kingdom stormed the Abuja House, 2 Campden Hill, Kensington, London, demanding that Buhari, who is currently on medical leave, should immediately return home.
In a video tweeted on his verified Twitter handle, a Nigerian broadcaster and former presidential aide, Reno Omokiri, had said the protesters assembled with a mission “to chase the president back home.”
“The police came but the #HarassBuhariOutOfLondon went on. A frightened @MBuhari refused to come,” he tweeted.
In a separate tweet earlier, Reno said, “The eagle has landed to harass the ego out of London. It is happening people. #HarassBuhariOutOfLondon is on. God willing, I will see you at Abuja House, 2 Campden Hill, Kensington, London W8 7AD by noon. We will observe #COVID-19 protocols even as we chase @MBuhari back home.”
Human rights activist, Omoyele Sowore, had also advised Nigerians in the UK to occupy the London hospital where President Buhari plans to have his medical check-up.
However, pro-Buhari protesters had last Tuesday gathered in front of the Nigerian House in London with the All Progressives Congress- branded face masks and led by the APC Chairman in the UK, one Philip Idaewor, a medical doctor.
Nigerians on social media have knocked the APC members posing as pro-Buhari protesters, accusing them of collecting £75 (about N30, 000) each to silence the agitations of Nigerians.
A source had told SaharaReporters that cabals around President Muhammadu Buhari working with groups in the UK were planning to organise a counter-protest and pay each participant £75.
It was gathered that participants in the pro-Buhari rally would be paid £75 – to sponsor a counter-protest to quell the voices of Nigerians demanding that Buhari should return home to attend to the worsening security situation and health crisis in the country.
But those identified by Nigerians in the UK of renting people for the counter-protest for Buhari have denied it, saying their assembly was for prayer for the country and the ailing President, and not for any counter-protest.
The Pro-Buhari group members also denied allegations that they were paid money or offered pro-protesters £75.
One of them, Lee Akin Badeji, whom sources described as the lead organiser, however, told SaharaReporters that most of them had simply gone to intercede on behalf of the country at the Abuja House and not to protest.
He argued that £75 was a very meagre amount that cannot cater for anyone’s upkeep in the United Kingdom and such can only be accepted by jobless people.
He said, “£75 cannot do anything for anybody over here, do you know how much I spend in a day? Those allegations are false. I have not received any money from anyone neither did I pay anyone. We had simply gone to Abuja House to intercede for the country and the president (who had come to the UK for medical leave) not to protest.
“The leadership of the country has its shortcomings but we cannot change things by wishing that the President dies, it does not make sense. The best thing for anyone to do is simply to get their voters card and do the needful when the election comes. No one can change anything from the diaspora, if we want to bring about a change in the affairs of Nigeria, we should start from home, not by protesting and wishing that the President will die.
“We should be united and bring about a change in our little corner. £75 can only be paid to someone who has nothing doing here in the UK. Did you see the Agbada (flowing gown) I wore in that video? That amount cannot even sew the Agbada.
“We did not pay or receive money from anyone, maybe you should ask the Buhari-must-go protesters, they might have been paid. I don’t have such evidence but maybe they were the ones who were paid £75 and someone is confusing it with my group.
“In Nigeria there, I contribute positively to my community, I organise empowerment programmes for people every time because I know the country is hard. Why will I want to pay or accept £75, for what? I send money home regularly, I love my country.
“I believe these allegations have come from some quarters, people that do not want Nigeria to move forward. Why will we pay people to go and pray for the president and Nigeria? Those allegations are false, but, if anyone has any evidence to back it up, they can come forward with the receipts, then we can take it up.”
Others in the group, who were contacted by SaharaReporters included Edith Nwachukwu who simply denied the allegation.
Ali Babatunde Alao said, “Yes, indeed I am a Buharist but £75 inducement will be quite belittling of a largesse. However, thanks for your enquiry.”
Also part of the group is Mustapha Abdullahi, who has yet to give a reply at the time of filing this report.
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