Nigerians hold anti-government protests — LIVE UPDATES

A protest to demand good governance and an urgent explanation for the country’s economic downturn kicks off today simultaneously in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, and other major cities across the country.

The decision to stage the process has been met with stiff opposition by the police who, repeatedly, told the organisers to call off their planned action.

Popular musician, 2Face Idibia, who was billed to lead the protest in Lagos, opted out at the eleventh hour citing security concerns.

In Lagos, the protesters are expected to march from National Stadium in Surulere to the National Theatre, Iganmu, a distance of about four kilometres.

PREMIUM TIMES will be bringing you live updates of events from Lagos.


Outside the National Stadium, Lagos, there at least half a dozen police patrol vans and more than 20 armed police officers.

Inside the stadium, there are dozens of people carrying placards, as well as more armed police officers.

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But everything has been peaceful.

Yemi Adamolekun of the Enough is Enough Nigeria said the group was not discouraged by the decision of Tuface Idibia to back out of the protest.

Earlier, a heavy police presence at the entrance to the National Stadium, Surulere, blocked sports men and women from entering the stadium for their morning activities. The police officers had said the stadium would be closed because of the protest.

But at 7:40am the gate of the stadium was opened by the management of the stadium.

When Fatai Owoseni, the Lagos CP, arrived, he denied authorising the blockade at the stadium.

“If you look towards the gate you will see that the gates have been opened and our men are just controlling the flow of traffic and people, and my men are all stationed to douse any kind of fear from the minds of the protesters,” Mr. Owoseni said.


image3(3)So far, less than 100 people have turned out for the protest.

Olu Martins: “The approach is very simple. It is to tell them that if people resolve, nothing can stop them. We have resolved that Nigeria must change.

“We are here at the National Stadium, that tells you the problem with Nigeria. From here we march to the National Theatre, another national asset that is in shambles.”

This is a peaceful protest. For the avoidance of doubt, let me say one more time, this is a peaceful protest. Please follow instructions so that we can start well and end well.

Yemi Adamolekun: “We need to prove them wrong. We have marshalls in reflector jackets. The police are here to protect us.

“The fact that government wants to stop the protest shows that protests are very important.”

Comedian Seyi Law has arrived to join the protest.


In Abuja, Aisha Yesufu is speaking at the #IStandWithNigeria protest. She is talking of the need to be respectful all through the protest. The pro-Buhari group are here too on the other side of the Unity Fountain.

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Onevoice Nigeria, a youth-driven civil society group, which served as the “official partner” of Tuface Idibia’s planned nationwide protest, has commenced the proposed march on Monday February 6.

The group gathered at Unity fountain Abuja at 9 a.m.

There is low turn out.

Security operatives are on ground to ensure the safety of the protesters.

The marches are scheduled to hold in Abuja and Lagos on Monday and Tuesday February 6 and 7, 2017.

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Abuja protest:

Aisha Yesufu is leading the march as protesters sing solidarity songs.

Protesters chant “By struggle freedom comes, by struggle”.

Some placards say: Mr. President Travel; Students are at home, no money for school fees; 7 exchange rate madness, Emefele must go; Acute hunger in the land.


Abuja protest:

A co-convener of the group, Fidelis Elihabor, who addressed the crowd earlier, said, “We may not have the number today but I can assure you that Nigerians are behind us. Someone promised to be leading from the front but where is he today?”

“Our security operatives should know that they are also bearing the weight of what is happening in the country right now.

“Your salaries are not commensurate with the kind of work you do.

“They intimidated Tuface, he is just one person. If Tuface falls, many of us will rise and if we fall, many others will still rise.”


Access road to the presidential villa is blocked by heavily armed police personnel, and protesters are forced to stop.

Stranded protesters are chanting “I stand with Nigeria”, as they approach blocked entrance route to villa.


Lagos protest

Seyi Law said the government needs to reshuffle its cabinet. He said people can no longer go to farm because they are scared.

“Corruption be like ladder, na those wey dey down na dem hold the ladder make e no fall.

“We have to make transparency the key for this government.”

He says government is budgeting millions to buy newspapers when they can make online subscriptions.

“We are demanding accountability. Make we know those wey dey collect the money. Somebody go school, all the years wey you spend for school, you no see work. Meanwhile one militant wey dey cause trouble dey collect money every month.

“We are not against Buhari. They said we are in recession, let them show us the way out of the recession.”


Lagos protest

The protesters have just left the National Stadium marching towards Ojuelegba and dancing to Tuface’s “For Instance” music.

The initial plan was to march towards the National Theatre but another group of protesters arrived with a band and began marching towards Ojuelegba.

A #OneVoice official told PREMIUM TIMES the plan is to now meet the other group and then turn and head back towards the National Theatre.

The two groups of protesters have now merged at Barracks, just before Ojuelegba, and the sizeable crowd is now heading towards Ojuelegba Under Bridge.

They are beckoning to people watching by the roadside to join the March.

Police escort riders and patrol vans are in front of the protesters while other patrol vans bring up the rear.


Lagos protest

Lagos police commissioner, Fatai Owoseni, has arrived to lead the police security team. He is walking ahead of the protesters.

It has been a peaceful protest so far, but vehicular traffic along the Ikorodu Road has ground to a standstill.

The police CP has reentered his vehicle.

The protesters are approaching the National Theatre.

The protesters have arrived the National Theatre, to waiting police officers. But they were allowed entrance.

Olu Martins is now addressing the crowd outside the complex.

Charley Boy joined the march, on a motorcycle, about half an hour ago.


Abuja protest:

Also speaking, Human rights Activist, Chidi Odinkalu said, “We thumbed Buhari into office in 2015 because he promised to do a lot, then he got into power and he has never addressed us. When he wants to talk to us he gets into a plane travels abroad and starts gossiping about us.

“Are we so useless that our president cannot address us? Are we so idiotic that our president cannot tell us that things are hard? We don’t get answers, we don’t get empathy and we are told we cannot protest too? What kind of country is that? What kind of citizens are we?

“Who are we to be told we can only protest if police licensed us. We have the right to protest.

“On this Monday morning we don’t know where our president is. We want to know because we care. On 18 January we were told that our president was going for a 10-day vacation. Yesterday we were told he is waiting for his medical test before he will return. Last week, fake pictures of the president meeting people in London emerged. IMG_20170206_105425

“Last night, Femi Adesina said people can get sick; people can even die and Shehu Garba said he spoke with the president’s doctor and was told he is well. Now think about it, if the president is well, who is Shehu to speak to his doctor.

“If the president is not ill, why should people be circulating fake pictures. We don’t want the human rights of the president abused.

“This administration came into power to fight corruption and now, next to the president is the man now known as the grass cutter general of the federation.”

In conclusion, Mr. Odinkalu chanted, fire the SGF, fire the grass cutter!! And the crowd chorused in response.


Abuja protest:

Another group, Support Buhari Group, is also marching in support of President Muhammadu Buhari.

The group also kicked off its march from Unity Fountain in Abuja.

The group is currently addressing the crowd at the Villa gate. They were also blocked by security operatives from entering the Aso Villa.


The Coordinator of the pro Buhari Group, Success Olayemi, stressed the need to support the president.

He said that Nigeria needs to support the president because “if Buhari fails, Nigeria will fail”.

He said Buhari was voted in because of his integrity and he is keeping to his words.


The Lagos protest has officially come to an end with a rendition of the national anthem.


Aisha Yesufu tells protesters to stay on the queue. She says we cannot ask for good governance if we are not orderly.


The protest by the Onevoice Nigeria group ended peacefully as the group marched back to Unity fountain.

Rights activist, Aisha Yusuf, commended members of the group who protested against the government, on how they conducted themselves during the protest.

She urged the group to remain relentless in their pursuit for good and accountable governance.

The group was told that the protest will continue on Tuesday at the same venue.


Lagos Protest

It’s been a peaceful protest so far, but vehicular traffic along the Ikorodu Road has ground to a standstill.

The police CP has reentered his vehicle.

The protesters are approaching the National Theatre.

Vehicular traffic along the Ikorodu Road has ground to a standstill as protesters are approaching the National Theatre
Vehicular traffic along the Ikorodu Road has ground to a standstill as protesters are approaching the National Theatre

Seyi Law said the government needs to reshuffle its cabinet. He said people can no longer go to farm because they are scared.

“Corruption be like ladder, na those wey dey down na dem hold the ladder make e no fall.

“We have to make transparency the key for this government.”

He says government is budgeting millions to buy newspapers when they can make online subscriptions.

“We are demanding accountability. Make we know those wey dey collect the money. Somebody go school, all the years wey you spend for school, you no see work. Meanwhile one militant wey dey cause trouble dey collect money every month.

“We are not against Buhari. They said we are in recession, let them show us the way out of the recession. ”


The two groups of protesters have now merged at Barracks, just before Ojuelegba, and the sizeable crowd is now heading towards Ojuelegba Under Bridge.

They are beckoning to people watching by the roadside to join the March.

Police escort riders and patrol vans are in front of the protesters while other patrol vans bring up the rear.

Protesters protesting
Protesters protesting

Lagos police commissioner, Fatai Owoseni, has arrived to lead the police security team. He’s walking ahead of the protesters.

Lagos Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni leading the police force during the protest
Lagos Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni leading the police force during the protest

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