LIVE UPDATES: Nigerians hold nationwide protests to mark June 12, reject tyranny
Nigerians across the country are holding demonstrations to push back against abject insecurity, poverty and rising attacks on their fundamental rights.
The protesters will march in Lagos, Abuja, Ibadan, Port-Harcourt and other pockets of towns and cities to mark 28 years’ anniversary of the annulment of the June 12, 1993, presidential election won by Moshood Abiola. The anniversary has also been set aside as Nigeria’s Democracy Day.
The demonstration this year comes as Nigerians are witnessing rising assaults on their rights by elements of the Buhari regime. The administration escalated the situation last week when it announced a ban on Twitter in the country.
The action faced nationwide condemnation, and countries across the world, including the U.S., UK and Europe condemned it as undemocratic.
President Muhammadu Buhari rejected claims of rights violation but said the ban on Twitter was necessary to curb hate speech and separatist agitations. Both the regime and Twitter also confirmed being in talks to resolve the standoff and restore the social network giant to millions of Nigerians.
Some Peoples Gazette’s reporters in Lagos, Abuja and Port-Harcourt will bring live updates from protest grounds throughout the day; while other colleagues will monitor and aggregate social media reactions for the newsroom.
Police fired tear gas on protesters in Ojota who were agitating for good governance in the country.
On Saturday dozens of Nigerian youths and civil societies gathered at the Gani Fawehinmi Park, Lagos, for the June 12 Democracy Day protest.
According to FIJ, one of its reporters Adeola Oladipupo was arrested by the police while covering the June 12 protest in Ojota.
The journalist was arrested and hurled into the police van alongside other protesters who were randomly picked up by the police at the protest ground.
After an address by the police in Ojota, the protesters have now agreed to disperse and regroup for protests on Monday.
The demonstrators asked for police protection when they resume on Monday.
Small Doctor joins protesters in Ojota
Popular artist, Small Doctor, has arrived the Ojota venue of the protest in Lagos amid cheers from the marchers.
The street-wise singer said government’s threats should not deter deter citizens from coming out to excercise their rights.
“They na democracy be dis or na crazy-demo?” He retorted via his megaphone to the crowd.
Police attack protesters in Ogun State
Some of protesters have been attacked during the Democracy Day proteo in Ijebu Ode. Some police officers were seen directly harassing and arresting protesters on Saturday at Lagos Garage, Ijebu-Ode.
A video clip shows protesters taking to their heels as police officers fire guns in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State.
— Naija (@Naija_PR) June 12, 2021
Ogun State is the home state of the late M.K.O Abiola, the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, in whose memory June 12 was chosen as Nigeria’s Democracy Day.
The state police spokesperson, Abimbola Oyeyemi, did not immediately respond to calls for comments.
More protesters are amassing at Ojota again after being dispersed with tear gas by the police.
The demonstrators are chanting “Buhari must go!” as they march down to Gain Fawehinmi Park.
Rivers protesters call for resignation of President Muhammad’s Buhari.
In Rivers State, protesters at about 9:00 a.m. convened at the Port Harcourt Pleasure Park, close to Division 6 headquarters of the Nigeria Army, singing solidarity songs.
Addressing reporters at the protest ground, Enefaa Georgewill, chairman of the Rivers Coalition of Civil Society Organisations, called for the resignation of President Muhammadu Buhari over his failure to secure citizens.
Mr GeorgeWill said, despite killings in several parts of Rivers State, the president has remained mute.
“Some communities in Andoni and Ogoni nearly on daily basis, people are being killed by gang warlords yet we have a president.
“If he can not provide security for Nigeria, Buhari must go,” Mr Georgewill said.
Mr Georgewill told reporters that another reason for calling for the resignation of President Buhari is due to his regime’s penchant for disobeying court orders.
“We are a saying that ours is a constitutional democracy and all of us must subject ourselves to the rules of law. No matter how powerful you are, what is expected in democracy is that everyone must subject to the dictates of law but we have not seen it.
“Wherein government has violated several court orders and have refused the court to have a breathing space. We are saying that for this government not to follow court orders, Buhari must go,” Mr Georgewill added.
Other protesters, however, frowned that Buhari banned Twitter, a platform they described dozens of Nigerians had used to secure job opportunities, saying with the ban, “President Buhari must go!”
Others identified Buhari’s government as a failed government, oppressing young and poor Nigerians.
The Gazette learnt that Rivers State civil society organizations had earlier liaised with the police which was why protesters were allowed to protest freely.
Unlike Lagos and Abuja, the turn out protesters in Rivers is minimal, The Gazette learnt.
The state police commissioner, Eboka Friday, had earlier warned residents to celebrate in a low key to avoid breakdown of law and order.
Mr Friday had earlier claimed that intelligence reports gathered revealed that hooligans are planning to hijack the Democracy Day celebration to disrupt peace enjoyed in the state.
A pro-government protester has told Premium Times on camera that they were mobilised for protest with promise of payment between N1,000 to N2,000.
He said though they have not been paid yet, he believes their leader Mohammed Garba who ensure they get their remuneration.
Oyo governor Seyi Makinde joins protest in Ibadan.
The governor who passed through hordes of protesters also addressed the gathering briefly.
Shouts of “Let him go!” as the governor finally made his way.
The police have stormed Toyin Street, Ikeja where protesters are gathered. They are urging protesters to be peaceful and not allow hoodlums infiltrate their ranks.
Officers of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps are also on group to address the demonstrators.
Ibadan, Oyo State
A journalist with BBC Africa has attacked by officers of the Oyo Police Command while covering demonstrations in Mokola, Ibadan.
The reporter, who was identified as Micheal, works with the BBC Pidgin media department, Premium Times reported.
He was slapped by a police officer identified as S.A Oke while trying to record the harassment of protesters by police.
His equipment and phones were also confiscated.
The security operatives threatened to kill protesters who refused to obey their orders.
In a related development, Samuel Olubiyo, another journalist with an online newspaper in Abuja was arrested by the police while covering the June 12 protest.
#June12Protest: As early as 8:30 a.m., protesters have converged around the Old Airport Junction in Jos, demanding an urgent end to economic pains, insecurity and rights violations.
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