Saturday, April 1, 2023

LIVE: Independence Day: Nigerians protest widespread poverty, insecurity, rights abuses, others

Nigerians are taking to the streets worldwide to protest widespread poverty, insecurity, crippling loans, worsening attacks on human rights, amongst others.

Protesters in Rivers State
Protesters in Rivers State (Photo Credit: ELFREDAH KEVIN-ALERECHI)

Nigerians are taking to the streets today to protest economic hardship, ethnic and sectarian strife, government inefficiency and a host of other protracted crises besetting the country. 

A coalition of civil society organisations is leading the demonstration across all Nigerian states and some foreign cities, organisers said.

Nigeria marks this year’s Independence Day together with her 60th Independence Anniversary, and protest organisers say the day was deliberately chosen for that significance.

Yele Sowore, a leader of #RevolutionNow, said in a statement to Peoples Gazette that Nigerians would vent their anger against unbearable conditions they have been living through.

The protests will take place in all 36 states across Nigeria and in the following cities outside the country.

London — Trafalgar Square, Charing Cross, London WC2N, 5DN.

Sweden — Nigerian Embassy, Tygratan 8, 114 27, Stockholm, Sweden.

Netherlands — Nigerian Embassy, Central Station, The Hague.

San Francisco — Union Square.

New York — Nigeria House, 828 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10017, United States

Washington DC — Nigerian Embassy, 3519 International Ct NW, Washington, DC 20008, United States.

Canada — Dundas Square, Toronto and 

Germany — Nigeria Consulate, Frankfurt, Weibfraueunstrabe 12, 60311, Frankfurt.

The Gazette will be updating this page with contributions from our reporters on the field across multiple venues of the demonstration. 

In Abuja, the protesters have already converged along Diplomatic Drive, which hosts the U.S. Embassy, British High Commission and embassies of other major countries. 

From here, they are expected to proceed to the city centre with their demonstration.

Omoyele Sowore, Aisha Yesufu, Deji Adeyanju and other Nigerian activists have hit the protest venue in Abuja. 

While addressing the protesters at the event, Mr. Sowore says in 1960 the reason we are in this mess is because our grandfathers were afraid of the police.

Ten years later, we had a civil war because our fathers were afraid to take the right step. It is 2020 they want us to be afraid again, they want us to be afraid to demand for just simple fundamental human rights.

Nigeria is 60 years old and we are still afraid to live in our own country, he adds.

In Port-Harcourt, the police have blocked Nigerians from holding their demonstration at Isaac Boro Park. Protesters say they are trying to avoid a confrontation with law enforcement.

Aisha Yesufu says she will continue to let the government know that we are citizens and not slaves.

“Whenever we walk around here we see police and SSS,” Mrs. Yesufu says. “They send security agents with their guns.”I will all ask you, where were you when we were being kidnapped? 

Where were you when all the bad things were happening in Nigeria? You come out with your guns, you tell us you are men, you tell us you are women but you’re all weak.

She also says the president’s office is not bigger than the citizens, admonishing security agencies to always place the people ahead of the government.

BREAKING: Security agents open fire, take 30 protesters into custody in Lagos

In Abuja, protests are simultaneously ongoing in Area 1, Life Camp, Jabi, Kuje, Kwali, Kubwa and Lugbe.

Protesters have dispersed after more than 100 security agents blocked gathering near Isaac Boro Park in Port Harcourt. A police chief warned participants that the event could be hijacked by thugs and officers may respond with live rounds.

BREAKING: Independence Day protests end in Abuja, continue in Lagos, other cities

Raphael Adebayo, an organiser, says the protest is about key issues affecting Nigerians. He cited the issues as growing hunger, hardship and poverty in the country.

The main group of protesters have dispersed Diplomatic Drive in Abuja, saying their voices have been heard. 

Their decision came minutes after the Port Harcourt leg of the protest ended under threat by security agents.

The protests, however, continue in Lagos and other parts of the country.

BREAKING: Police attack Punch journalist in Lagos, inflict head injury

The police have attacked a reporter for the Punch in Lagos. Olukayode Jayeola was doing his job when he had his head brutalised by armed policemen.

Photo credit : naijanews
Protesters in Gombe State
Protesters in Gombe State

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