Nigerians hold protests despite security agencies’ intimidations

NIGERIANS took to the streets on Saturday, June 12, to protest against bad governance, corruption and the rising spate of insecurity in the country.

The protests took place despite efforts by the police and other security agencies to stop them from happening across Nigeria.

The protests, organised by civil societies in Nigeria, took place simultaneously in several states across the country and were deliberately planned to coincide with the country’s Democracy Day.

While the exercise was relatively peaceful in most states, protesters met with security resistance, arrests and tear gas, especially within the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and Lagos.

In the FCT, the convergence venue, Unity Fountain, was taken over by pro-Buhari groups, who held a rally at the scene without any form of harassment by the security.

Forced to pick a new venue, the protesters marched along the Gudu area of Abuja while carrying placards and banners that read, ‘Buhari must go.’ But they were soon dispersed by security officers who shot tear gas canisters at them.

Spokesperson for the FCT Police Command Mariam Yusuf said in a statement released on Saturday that officers of the command made no arrests but restored calm, claiming that the crowds were “inciting public disturbance and breaching public peace.”

“The action of the Command was necessitated by the concerns of some agitated residents. However, no arrests were made,” she said.



    In Lagos, there were reports of violence in areas such as Mile 2 and Ojota, which was quelled by security officials.

    While a large number of residents remained indoors, protesters gathered at the Gani Fawehimi Park protesting peacefully till attempts by the police to disperse them led to a face-off and the use of tear gas by the security officials.

    The June 12 protest was organised as a reaction to the rising spate of insecurity and unemployment in the country.

    The Twitter ban by Nigerian President Mohammadu Buhari over a week ago also triggered an outcry in Nigeria and heightened calls for the protest against bad governance in the country.

    Ijeoma Opara is a journalist with The ICIR. Reach her via [email protected] or @ije_le on Twitter.

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