Charly Boy, Sowore, Sahara Reporters publisher, lead protesters in Lagos; Abuja, Edo also rocked with protests
As planned, protesters both for and against the government took over Abuja and Lagos on Monday but in other states, it was more of anti-government protesters who thronged the streets. The National Stadium and the Freedom Park both in Lagos were a beehive of activities as policemen took strategic positions to keep the peace.
In Edo State, some protesters massed through the streets to protest what they termed harsh economic conditions inflicted on the people by the government. In Port Harcourt, the police prevented the gathering of protesters but the police resistance did not dampen the spirit of some of the protesters who still found their way into major roads to register their anger.
Over 100 policemen were seen as early as 7.00 am at the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos, the planned take-off point of the protest.
The police team, led by the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, came to the National Stadium, with over 15 vehicles and one Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC).
But police presence did not scare the protesters which include Moremi Ojudu, daughter of Babafemi Ojudu, the special adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on politics, Charly Boy and Sahara Reporters publisher, Omoyele Sowore.
In Abuja, Professor Chidi Odinkalu and other activists also joined in the anti-government protest which they said was to call the government to action against the poverty and suffering in the country.
Other locations in Lagos metropolis with heavy police presence were the Gani Fawehinmi’s Freedom Square, Ojota and the National Theatre, Iganmu.
At 9.00 a.m., a group of about 100 protesters from different groups had gathered at the National Stadium awaiting the arrival of other members of the group.
Speaking with NAN at the stadium, Owoseni said that the police presence was not to stop the protest, but to maintain law and order during the procession.
The main entrance to the stadium, which was initially locked, was opened for the public to use the facility on the orders of the police commissioner.
Yemi Adamolekun, the Executive Director, OneVoiceNigeria, told NAN at the venue that the coalition was not discouraged by the last minute cancellation of the protest by Tuface.
She said the protest was not about Tuface Idibia, but about Nigeria.
The planned protest had gained momentum with several public figures and civil society groups pledging to be part of it.
Tuface in a message Monday said though he may not be out on the streets with the protesters physically but his spirit is with them.