The Presidency has cautioned those it described as “a section of the political class” against misleading the public and inciting protests against the heads of military institutions in the country.
The President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, gave the warning in a statement on Saturday.
He said, “A group of politicians and beneficiaries of the Boko Haram insurgency is right now paying for people to join their planned protest against our country’s service chiefs.”
This follows the various calls by prominent citizens in the country for the sack of the service chiefs over the spate of killings and crimes recorded recently.
Also worried about the security situation, some lawmakers in the Senate and House of Representatives chambers of the National Assembly recently called for the replacement of the service chiefs with those with fresh ideas.
A False Narrative?
In Saturday’s statement, Shehu raised an alarm that the Presidency had received reports that about 2,000 men and women have been hired to protest against the service chiefs on Monday.
He also accused the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as being one of the sponsors of the demonstration, but the opposition party has yet to respond to the allegation.
The President’s spokesman said, “This imminent gathering is the latest in a series of demonstrations orchestrated by the opposition to embarrass the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“As part of this overall scheme, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, with its belligerent politics, has been marching from one embassy to the other in protest against the Buhari administration and the nation’s highest court of justice, the Supreme Court.
“They are keen to give the impression that Nigerians are in support of them as they take to the streets, and they will go to any length to promote this false narrative.”
Cheer Vs Boo
Following the killing of 30 travellers along the Maiduguri – Damaturu Road in the North East, President Buhari had paid a condolence visit to Borno State.
There were reports that a crowd of residents trooped to the streets and booed the President, supposedly over the recent attacks by the insurgents in the state.
Although Shehu did not deny that his principal was booed, he insisted that those jeered him were ‘a handful’ while the President was cheered by a crowd.
He claimed that the incident was part of the elaborate scheme of the opposition and criticised those who termed to be a verdict against the President.
“This was clearly a hired few, but the news was promoted by the opposition who had, of course, positioned themselves to record the booing – all just to embarrass the President,” he said.
The presidential aide, however, urged the media to remain unbiased and discerning in their reporting.