Some supporters of the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Muhammadu Buhari, and a group of Nigerians allegedly sponsored by the Nigerian government on Thursday clashed at the premises of Chatham House, London, where Mr. Buhari delivered a lecture.
Mr. Buhari, a retired major general and former military head of state, was invited to Chatham House to deliver a lecture entitled, “Prospects for Democratic Consolidation in Africa: Nigeria’s Transition”.
However, before he arrived for the event, some protesters gathered in front of the venue placards and chanting songs in protest against the the APC candidate.
The anti-Buhari demonstrators bore placards with the inscriptions such as “Buhari Belongs to the past: The past can’t belong to the future of our children”, “A dictator hiding behind another pastor cannot be a democrat”, and “Nigeria will not return to the past.”
Others wore T-shirts with inscriptions such as “Diaspora says no to a tyrant.”
However, to counter the protest, the members of the United Kingdom chapter of the APC also mobilized to the venue to confront the the PDP supporters during which a verbal clash erupted.
The pro-Buhari elements had placards bearing messages such as “Nigerians deserve better than 16 years misrule,” and “Vote Buhari/Osinbajo.”
Frayed nerves between the two camps were however calmed by officers of the Metropolitan police who patrolled the area.
The media had reported ahead of the event that the campaign organisation of Mr. Buhari’s main challenger, President Goodluck Jonathan had earmarked $20,000 to hire protesters in London against the APC presidential candidate.
A memo entitled “The Chatham House Rally: March Against Dictator,” which emanated from the campaign’s Assistant Director, Civil Society and Support Groups (Diaspora), Peter Mozie, said the money would be spent on mobilising the crowd, refreshing them and defraying other logistics.
Meanwhile, the spokesperson of the Peoples Democratic Party Presidential Campaign Organisation, Femi Fani-Kayode, denied mobilizing the protesters to embarrass Mr. Buhari at the event.
“My attention has been drawn to a story that I am renting a crowd to embarrass Gen. Buhari at Chatham House later today. It is a lie,” Mr. Fani-Kayode tweeted.Premium Times