A new set of protesters Thursday stormed the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja over the just-concluded 2023 general elections, calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to put in place an interim government before he leaves office on May 29.
The angry protesters under the umbrella of the National Youth League for the Defence of Democracy (NYLDD) also demanded an immediate arrest of chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu, by the Directorate of State Security Service (DSS).
Armed with placards with various inscriptions, the protesters asked the federal government not only to sack Yakubu but also probe the finances of the electoral umpire.
Addressing journalists at the Unity Fountain where the protest was kickstarted, one of the leaders of the group, Moses Paul, said the interim government they were asking for is expected to appoint a new INEC chairman and conduct a fresh election that will produce a befitting President for Nigeria.
Paul said: “We are citizens of Nigeria, lovers of Nigeria, standing on the part of our constitution and citizens’ rights. We are here particularly to address the greatest crime that has happened in the history of the world and in Nigeria. People were burnt in Kano, people were shot in Rivers, we have seen the greatest inhumanity happened in Lagos State in the course of this election.
“Two demands we are making: we are asking the President of this country to arrest immediately and prosecute the Chairman INEC, Yakubu, who has committed the greatest fraud in the history of humanity, we need him arrested and be prosecuted.
“Our number two demand is that we are asking for an interim government be put in place. We are saying that because we do not want President Muhammadu Buhari to continue, his tenure is ending, so as a father he should put in place an interim government so that the interim government will now appoint another INEC chairman who will conduct a free and credible election and produce a befitting President for our country.”
When asked to provide other options if the two demands were not met, another speaker and one of the co-conveners, Anngu Orngu, said they were harmless Nigerians “but we will use every other civil and lawful means to make sure that our demands are met.
“We are here as frustrated Nigerians and the fundamental rights of Nigerians have been trampled upon by Yakubu-led INEC and we are here calling for his immediate resignation. We have also requested that DSS should arrest him, and he should be prosecuted by the EFCC.
“We are calling on DSS to arrest Mahmood immediately, the EFCC should investigate him and we are also calling on the Nigerian Judiciary because those concerned are already in court, particularly the presidential election of February 25th, we are calling on the judges in Nigeria that we want justice to prevail.
“We have been to the US Embassy, we have been to the British Council in Nigeria, and we have also submitted letter to the French Embassy, calling on them to advise the Nigerian government that the Nigerian people are not happy. We the young people of this country are not happy over what is happening in our country. We may be peaceful now but when you push even a goat to the wall, the goat may bite,” he said.
In one of the letters made available to journalists, which was addressed to the United States Embassy and Consulate, the protesters also called for sanction against the INEC Chairman.
The letter reads in part: “The conduct of the elections in substantial non-compliance with the the extant legal framework.
“These criminal actions of Mahmood Yakubu have led to the dampening of the revived spirits of youths who in anticipation of a country that works for all, turned out in their numbers to vote, some for the first time in their lives, for their preferred candidates only to be greeted with violence and subversion of their collective will.
“Based on the foregoing, we pray your good offices to amongst other appropriate sanctions, withdraw the visas of Yakubu, all the Resident Electoral Commissioners of states where these infractions were prevalent, particularly the RECs of Lagos, Rivers, Borno, Zamfara, Niger, Jigawa, Kano, Imo, Ebonyi, Ekiti, Ogun, Oyo, parts of Cross River, parts of Katsina and Edo State.”