“They brought a big bus to our location in Mpape and asked us to come and do ‘sai Saraki’ and they will pay one thousand naira,”
In a desperate act to receive public sympathy for his ongoing trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), the Senate President Bukola Saraki today hired street urchins to march in a solidarity protest for him and condemn his ongoing trial, SaharaReporters learned on Tuesday. The protesters-for-hire gathered at the main gate of the National Assembly with posters of Saraki and Ekweremadu and chanting solidarity songs.
The protesters included truck pushers, thugs, and Okada riders. SaharaReporters discovered that a banners belonging to groups, the Coalition of Civil Society and Media Executives, were carried but no member of the civil society group or media executive was present at the rally.
The group said that the trial of the Senate President was an act of victimization and persecution as a result of his stance on anti-corruption and integrity in the Senate and National Assembly. The group charged that the time and manner of the prosecution, and the jurisdiction of the tribunal, were suspect. They also urged Bukola Saraki not to resign but to persevere because the allegations against him are false and unfounded.
One of the protesters, speaking to Sahara Reporters anonymously, said that he was a scavenger at Mpape, a suburb of FCT, and decided to join the group because they promised to give them N1000 each at the end of the rally.”
“They brought a big bus to our location in Mpape and asked us to come and do ‘sai Saraki’ and they will pay one thousand naira,” he added.
The armed policemen at the gate had a running battle with the protesters as they insisted that they must gain entry into the complex. As the situation escalated, and began obstructing human and vehicular traffic around the National Assembly, the Senate Chairman of the Ad hoc Committee on Media, Senator Dino Melaye, arrived at the gate to address them and calm the nerves of the protesters. Immediately the rented protesters were dismissed, some of them were spotted sharing money and fighting at the Eagle Square.
The CCB has filed 13 charges against Saraki including false and improper declaration of assets acquired during his tenure as Governor of Kwara State from 2003-2011. Saraki was forced in front of the CCT to respond to these charges before the case was adjourned for the 21st and 22nd of October for a formal hearing.