The Presidency has dismissed allegations that it was withholding the allowances of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Mallam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant (Media & Publicity) to President Muhammadu Buhari, refuted the allegations by some protesting Ijaw youths who asserted that the government had withheld the allowances of former President Goodluck and the salaries of his security details.
Indeed, hundreds of aggrieved Ijaw youths had on Thursday taken to the streets of Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, to protest the alleged ill-treatment of Jonathan and his family by the Buhari administration.
They claimed that apart from using the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to harass the former First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, and freeze her accounts, the Federal Government had gone ahead to stop the allowances of the former president.
But when The AUTHORITY contacted the spokesman of the President, Malam Garba Shehu, he said: “There is no truth in the allegation. All his outstanding allowances have been paid except that of the third quarter of the year; and it does not affect him alone.
“Other past heads of state and presidents have also not been paid for the third quarter. So, there is nothing like his allowances being stopped. All other outstanding allowances have been paid.
“The Federal Ministry of Finance has already issued the payment advice to the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and as cash inflow permits, he and others will be paid accordingly.”
The protesting Ijaw youths had disrupted traffic flow along the Sani Abacha Expressway in Yenagoa on the alleged ordeal of the Jonathans.
During the peaceful protest, the youths expressed their anger over the government’s alleged disrespect for Jonathan by freezing the accounts of his wife and withholding his allowances.
They alleged that the government was starving his security personnel by refusing to pay their salaries.
The protesters were drawn from the nine states of the Niger Delta region led by the President of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide, Mr. Udengs Eradiri.
They chanted Ijaw solidarity songs and displayed the ethnic group’s flags and placards with inscriptions such as: “Leave Patience Jonathan alone”; “NLNG must be bought by Bonny people”; “If you must probe, all First Ladies must be probed”; “We need projects not soldiers”; “Defreeze Jonathan’s account”, among others.
Eradiri said: “This country has produced many presidents but the only one from the Niger Delta is constantly harassed by the machinery of state, especially the EFCC.
“We want to call on the President to please respect former President Jonathan, at least for the fact that he brought peace to this country, handed over power peacefully to him. He didn’t go to court. He allowed him to run this country; President Buhari should focus on leadership and stop vilifying the former first family.”
“We appeal to Buhari to respect Jonathan the way he respects other past presidents. They have frozen his accounts; they are not paying his allowances. Even the security agents around him do not get what is due them. Why is the Presidency victimising Goodluck Jonathan?”
Eradiri also told President Buhari that the process of negotiation between the Federal Government and the Niger Delta region was faulty from the beginning, saying the talks would crumble unless the President sat on the same table with leaders of various ethnic nationalities in the region.
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