By Ebriku John Friday, Abuja
A group of Nigerian students and activists under the auspices of Joint Action Committee, JAC, Wednesday, embarked on peaceful protest at the popular NICON Junction, in Maitama District of Abuja to demand capital punishment for corrupt public officials including other issues.
The protest which was organised by One Love Foundation, initially was billed to hold at Unity Fountain, opposite Transcorp Hilton, but was stopped by security agents from using the venue.
Speaking on the reasons for their protest, the Founder, One Love Foundation, Chief Patrick Eholor, said Nigerians are indeed taking for a ride and the common patrimony that belongs to them are on daily basis carted away with impunity, and they can no more sit and watch.
He also lamented that worsening insecurity situation in the North East region, which has claimed over 37, 000 lives of innocent Nigerians, therefore called for the resignation and apology of Service Chiefs.
He said: “Our demands include capital punishment for who loot our common patrimony, and this is our first demand. In order to eliminate corruption is to introduce capital punishment because Buhari said if we don’t kill corruption, corruption will kill us.
Founder of One Love Foundation, Chief Patrick Eholor, speaking with journalists
“We are also saying that Nigerian institutions should reverse what they call admittance fee for the sake of the poor people. We are saying the Nigerian Police should be given adequate package to stop the aggression towards us, the Nigerian Customs Service should leave our streets and go to the borders, the Nigerian Immigration Service should stop giving citizenship to Lebanese, Indians and Chinese, and women should get more involved in politics.
“Service Chiefs have done us a disservice. We have lost over 37, 000 people in the North and the statistics are very correct. They should retire and apologise. So we must change the Service Chiefs because they have done us a disservice.
“We call on the Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amechi, for putting Nigeria’s sovereignty in danger over his signing of agreements that we just know about.
“We warn that if there is no change we all will become unruly and outlawed.”
He further stated that the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen God’swill Akpabio, mention all names of those who have milked the nation as far as the National Assembly probe on Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, is concerned ., which he aqlso alleged that the NDDC has not funded any project in Edo State, where he hails from.
“I approached my Member House of Representatives, who was allegedly mentioned by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen God’swill Akpabio as a contract beneficiary to show me where in the constituency he executed the projects, but he denied categorically, saying Akpabio must be day-dreaming. NDDC has not being funded in my area since 2018. Akpabio must mention to us those with him that milked Nigeria”, he added.
Speaking further, he (Eholor) called for peaceful and fair election in Edo State governorship election.
“My advice the governorship candidates of the two political parties, PDP and APC respectively is to ensure free and fair electoral process and think of the electorates, and who the cap fits should wear it, there is no loser or winner, who wins should be saluted and whoever lose should be embraced”, he said.
However, he said that, “I am not partisan because there have been accusations of god-father left and right. If we say former Chairman of All Progressives Congress, APC, and former Governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole, was a god-father for instance, the son who is my friend and present Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, benefited from that god-fatherism.
Comrade Sunny Idika speaking during the protest
“So he who has not lived or sin let him cast the first stone. They all have one interest and don’t have interest of the people. We must stop that and people must be educated to go out there and register and truly vote. We must not sacrifice ourselves for these ‘bandits’.”
Meanwhile, other leaders of the protesters, including Nigerian Students and Youth Activist, Comrade Osemudiamen Ogbidi, National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Chapter, Comrade John Michael, and others said President Muhammadu Buhari, should not leave those people who siphoned Nigeria’s money, eaten what belongs to the Nigerian youth and citizens should surely pay heavily for it, and ensure that anybody caught siphoning Nigeria money should be sentenced to death.
“Whether it is any institution or individual to siphon the money that belong to the public by private individuals it is not in the interest of Nigerians to continue to fight corruption that has no effect on the well-being of fellow Nigerians.
“Every day in our lives we have people who are dying because of poverty what has caused it is not more than corruption. We are here as Nigerian students, activists, advocates and conscience that anyone found wanton of corruption should die by corruption. Corruption is now a ‘Nigerian’ living with us but we say no to corruption.
“The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, should provide the N80 billion spent within four months. The NDDC must tell us the N128 million they used to send drivers to driving schools. Where on earth is that done? Today everybody wants to travel to Dubai, but what did it take the people there to establish and develop their country? It was less than N1 billion. We hear billions of Naira budgeted for schools and others and yet our country is retrogressing. We say enough is enough!
“The reason why the Nigerian students have not resumed school is because of corruption. How long are we going to live like this in poverty, Diaspora, suffering, and if there is no change we are going to contain Nigeria”, they alleged.