The nationwide anti-government protests scheduled for Monday, February 6, in various cities across the country will go ahead as planned despite the withdrawal of popular Nigerian musician, Innocent Idibia, popularly called Tuface.
A Civil Society Organization, “EnoughisEnough”, EiE, has said that it will go ahead with the protest in Lagos and Abuja on Monday, despite Tuface’s withdrawal
The singer, who originally called for the protest, had announced on Saturday evening that he was cancelling the match because the police advised him against going ahead with it.
The police had said that it could not guarantee the security of people who decide to participate in the protests because it had intelligence that hoodlums planned to hijack the match.
However, in a statement issued by EnoughisEnough on Sunday, the group noted that it was “committed to instituting a culture of good governance and public accountability in Nigeria through active citizenship.”
It insisted that the “I Stand With Nigeria/One Voice Nigeria’ rallies to protest corruption and worsening standard of living under the Muhammadu Buhari administration at all levels of government, will continue tomorrow in Lagos and Abuja.”
“This is a platform for real Nigerians to communicate their real pains to government at all levels in a peaceful and articulate manner with a view to getting lasting solutions to our problems,” the statement read.
The group quoted Tuface as having said in an earlier statement that “This march is about demanding that all saboteurs of good government policies should hands off. This march is about encouraging positive minded Nigerians to continue to work without intimidation. We have a system that is clearly designed not to work for the majority.”
However, Yemi Adamolekun, the Executive Director of EiE, regretted that “2face Idibia (2Baba) informed us late last night that on-going conversations with security agencies have not allayed his security concerns and so he had decided not to participate in a physical protest.”
“We thanked him for inviting us when he first decided on these protests, and informed him that we believe it is important, despite the risks, to continue with the demands, for the sake of the Nigerians who have put their trust in this movement.
He said that the group will hold the Commissioner of Police in Lagos State and the Presidency to their words that “citizens have the right to protest and that it is the responsibility of security agencies to provide security to all citizens.”
Adamolekun pointed out that the EiE has a track record of galvanizing popular participation in holding governments accountable, through the #EnoughisEnough protests in 2010 that led to the handover of power to Goodluck Jonathan; the #OccupyNigeria in 2012 protests that forced the government to scale back on plans to increase fuel pump prices and set a new high for citizen engagement & mobilization, (as well as) the #OurNASS protests in 2013 calling for accountability in the National Assembly that has continued with the #OpenNASS campaign.”
The group said that it is important that Nigerians continue to hold governments accountable and to cry out when government are not living up to its expectations, adding that “this call has gone beyond 2Baba. It is now a Nigerian demand.”
Adamolekun also stated that the attempt by the security agencies to prevent the protest from holding tantamount to an attempt to “stifle the inalienable rights of Nigerians to freedom of speech and assembly (and therefore) cannot be allowed.”
“We are in a democracy and citizens must be able to express their displeasure with their elected representatives in a lawful manner,” the EiE boss stated.
The group insisted that the protest “will hold at the Unity Fountain, Abuja from 9am and the National Stadium, Lagos from 8am.”
“We also encourage citizens who have mobilized in other cities across the country to come out and make their voices