Presidency has confirmed that Nigerians in the United Kingdom on Monday protested against President Muhammadu Buhari's re-election bid on his arrival in London.
A presidential aide, who confirmed this to State House reporters on Tuesday, noted that the protest was staged barely 24 hours after President Buhari declared his intention to seek re-election in 2019.
He alleged that looters and corrupt elements within and outside Nigeria had been jolted to push "panic buttons including renting a motley crowd of professional demonstrators to protest against the president on his arrival in the United Kingdom."
He said extremely corrupt Nigerians who are custodians of slush funds stolen from Nigeria, and hiding in UK or are resident cronies of such elements had colluded to form a league of protesters with a singular aim of distracting and disorganising Buhari's scheduled state visit to England for bilateral talks with Prime Minister Theresa May and other dignitaries.
He quoted security sources as revealing that the protesters were bent on embarrassing and humiliating Buhari throughout his stay in the UK.
According to him, the protesters have vowed to take their demonstrations to the venue of Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting holding later in the month in Britain which Buhari is attending.
"Esteemed Nigerians home and abroad, friends and business investors in Nigeria, should please see through the veil of the motive behind the Abuja House, Kensington London demonstration. It was an orchestrated act of desperation and a ploy to blackmail and hoodwink the President from concentrating on his anti-corruption campaign, which is fast gaining grounds locally and internationally," the source stated authoritatively.
"This unpatriotic act is not unconnected to the Federal government policies to name and shame corrupt citizens and looters; to collate database of Nigerians with homes in UK who are not paying the right taxes, and the hot drive to prosecute all financial defaulters through bilateral and multilateral means."
"It is obvious that this is a clear cut incident of corruption fighting back. Many of the beneficiaries of corruption and slush funds cannot withstand another devastating blow of Buhari's anti corruption sledge hammer.
"Hence, they are resolute to derail the apple cart in order to save their ugly faces and sit back to enjoy the loot in their personal banks. Some of the protesters are not even Nigerians but hired hatchet men paid to do the dirty job."
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, said Buhari would not be distracted from his mission in London.