The Initiative to Save Democracy, a pro-democracy group has raised an alarm of payments made by Uche Secondus, PDP Chairman, Osita Chidoka and Charly Boy (Charles Oputa) to the National Association of Polytechnic Students (NAPS) to conduct protests against the Service Chiefs.
The group in a statement signed by its President Mr Akinloye James stated that some senior members of NAPS had confirmed to the group that each of these men had made contributions to the NAPS leadership for the protests to hold.
“Some senior members of the National Association of Polytechnic Students (NAPS) reached out to our organisation, and informed us of the sinister plans to have Polytechnic Students conduct protests against the President’s Service Chiefs.
“They confirmed that Uche Secondus, the PDP Chairman, had provided N3,500,000, while Osita Chidoka, had made a transfer of N600,000, and Charly Boy had provided the sum of N250,000 as the funds to mobilise the student protesters.”
The Initiative to Save Democracy described the ultimatum NAPS gave as a bluff that could not stand.
“The ultimatum, which the NAPS had been procured to issue, stating that they would engage in mass protest on the 27th of February if the Service Chiefs do not step down, is nothing short of a bluff that cannot stand. They are only sponsored tools in the hands of politicians seeking to destabilise the country.
“When you hear the name of the likes of Uche Secondus, Charles Oputa and Osita Chidoka, you know very well that these are not stable elements. Their collective agenda is simply to unsettle the government, create confusion and destabilise the institutions of our democracy.
“Nothing good can come out of these people. So anyone who presents themselves as fodder to carry out their ill-conceived agenda would ultimately fail.”
The group also defended the Service Chiefs, stating that the Service Chiefs were not being given a fair judgment in the eyes of their critics.
“The Service Chiefs have come under attack from some quarters, a number of which may have good intentions but are ill-informed in making their criticisms, while others are simply pursuing political motives.
“Very few people have looked at two things in this matter: One is what is the responsibility of the service chiefs, have they failed or succeeded here? How did they meet the North East, and how have conditions improved there since they came in.
“The Service Chiefs are primarily concerned with the issue of national defence, that is the security of Nigeria’s territory and sovereignty. This must not be mistaken for internal security matters. It is not the business of the Navy, or Army or Air Force to protect civilians in their day to day affairs. The mistake most of these critics keep making is the assumption that the Army and other Defense outfits have a mandate in civilian protection. That is wrong; they only come in when the Police and other internal civil security outfits are overwhelmed.
“There is also no doubt that the Security of the North East has drastically improved. Go and ask the residents in Maiduguri, in Yola and the surrounding cities what life was for them 5 years ago. Millions were displaced, there was a massive food crisis, attacks were on a daily basis, the terrorist group had control of Nigerian territories, among others. That is not the case today.
“Any calls for the ousting of the Service Chiefs, is premised on either of two things: ignorance or selfish political interests. Period.” The statement read.