President Muhammadu Buhari’s spokesperson, Femi Adesina, has been criticised for justifying the harassment and arrest of #RevolutionNow protesters by security operstives across the nation on Wednesday.
Mr Adesina, who appeared on Channels Television Sunrise Daily programme on Thursday, said the protest was a ‘mere child’s play and an irritation’.
He also stated that if the clampdown on protesters is considered the best to maintain orderliness in Nigeria, “the government will do whatever is right, whatever is required to maintain peace.”
Mr Adesina said: “… by my estimation, it (protests) just seemed like a child’s play because protests by their very nature are spontaneous things, mass things. These are just a sprinkle of people trying to be funny. As far as I am concerned, it is nothing to worry about.
“A revolution is always a mass thing, not a sprinkle of young boys and girls you saw yesterday in different parts of the country. I think it was just a funny thing to call it a revolution protest.”
Asked why the government failed to take the rally seriously, he simply replied saying: “In a country of 200 million people and if you see a sprinkle of people saying they are doing a revolution, it was a child’s play.
“Revolution is something that turns the normal order. What happened yesterday, would you call it a revolution? It was just an irritation, just an irritation and some people want to cause irritation in the country and what I will say is when things boil over, they boil over because you continue to heat them.”
“When you see pockets of heating up in the country, eventually they culminate in a boiling over. So, Nigerians need to know that the country we get is what we use our hands to build.”
PREMIUM TIMES reported how scores of protesters were arrested in different states as security agencies forcefully stopped the largely peaceful #RevolutionNow protests on Wednesday.
The protesters were demanding better governance in Nigeria, an end to corruption and improvement in the security and welfare of citizens.
The actions of the security agencies have been condemned by civic groups and many Nigerians.
In Lagos, journalist Agba Jalingo and 18 other protesters who were arrested during the protest were released Wednesday evening. Inibehe Effiong, a lawyer and activist, told PREMIUM TIMES that all the 19 protesters that were arrested in Lagos had been freed.
In Abuja, Deji Adeyanju, one of the organisers of the protest confirmed that all the arrested protesters had been released. Also, Festus Ogun, another activist in Ogun, confirmed the release of five protesters arrested in the state.
But it was a different story for seven protesters in Osun who were kept in custody after their arrest.
Olawale Bakare and six others arrested at the #RevolutionNow protest in Osun State spent the night at the State Security Service custody, PREMIUM TIMES learnt.
Mr Bakare was arrested alongside Dunsi Olowolafe, Abiodun Sanusi, Gift Martins, Martins Jesuloni, and two others in Osogbo on Wednesday.
On Wednesday evening, this newspaper spoke with one of the arrested protesters, Mr Olowolafe, who confirmed that they were still in SSS custody and would be spending the night there.
A lawyer to the Osun protesters, Alfred Adegoke, also narrated his experience in trying to secure bail for his clients as he claimed that the secret police had obtained an order to detain them for 14 days
PREMIUM TIMES could not obtain the details of the remand order allegedly obtained by the SSS.
Mr Adegoke said he would return to the SSS office on Thursday to demand bail for the protesters.
Not pleased with the position of Mr Adesina on the illegal arrest, Nigerians have stormed the social media to condemn the former Guild of Editors’ president.
PREMIUM TIMES gathered some reactions to Mr Adesina’s comments below:
Femi Adesina does not know there’s is life beyond 2023. Posterity will judge him harshly.
— 🌴Your Destiny Helper®🕊🌴 (@AyanfeOfGod) August 6, 2020
— SAPIOSEXUAL (@Mazimum_) August 6, 2020
Femi Adesina can make all the noise because he knows the youth will sit at home watch him on TV and latter come to Twitter to rant but will never dare come out for protest.
— UndisputeDChampioN (@JohnAshas) August 6, 2020
Watching Femi Adesina speak can ruin your entire mood for the day.
— Ozor Isaac (@Batiago99) August 6, 2020
Femi Adesina is justifying police, army, and DSS attacking and molesting protesters. Ki Olorun ma fi ounje wa si ibi to ha
— AuxanoSparkles (@Adegboyega__) August 6, 2020
Femi Adesina always talk like someone that doesn't have home training. I wonder what he will be teaching his children
— Samuel. A 💖💖💖 (@MakinzSam) August 6, 2020
Tope Akinyola schooling Femi Adesina on channels, is so disgraceful when you try to defend this government, I think is an easier job defending Hushpuppi
— Nathan (@Nathanielc17) August 6, 2020
Femi Adesina is known to talk with alot of arrogant, I'm surprised if a public servant is making such statement on a national TV. https://t.co/HaEiNiKp8Y
— Oluwa Samuel (@oluwa_samuel) August 6, 2020
who knows Femi Adesina. @femishina tag him to this post and tell him I said he’s a fool, cretin, opportunist and a bastard. He should look for me wherever I am. He referred to as peaceful protesters as kids, and some set of people. May peace of mind be far away from him pic.twitter.com/Rh4QJncFHa
— Olanrewaju Muhammed YUSUF 🇳🇬🛬🇩🇪 (@Olamirewaju22) August 6, 2020
I see nothing wrong Tope Akinyode's assertions so far on @sunrisedailynow . He has been civil in his utterances as far as I'm concerned. Femi Adesina is simply trying to wriggle out of the entanglement with their usual intimidation ploy @channelstv
— D-Great (@Itsdozy) August 6, 2020
The most interesting thing is that when Buhari finally leaves office (very soon), we will struggle to quote him insulting Nigerians.
We will however find numerous quotes from Femi Adesina, Tolu Ogunlesi, Garba Shehu & other senseless slaves who shamelessly defend evil.
— Babasola Kuti (@RealSolaKuti) July 28, 2020
Tope akinyode should be occupying Femi adesina seat if we have had a working govt.
Femi shld thank his star it was not me cos I wld have returned d favor of insulting my personality on air but akinyode chose otherwise.
— Femi Samuel, (@wollybreeze01) August 6, 2020
The #RevolutionNow protest was a distraction & carried out by irritants – Femi Adesina on Channels TV
Nigerians are protesting insecurity, unemployment & corruption & you call them a distraction & irritants?
Was Buhari an irritant when he protested against Jonathan govt?
— Miz Cazorla (@MizCazorla1) August 6, 2020
Anytime i see Femi Adesina trending, one very omini senseless person.😒 pic.twitter.com/uod4q8UDEs
— Oloye Ayo Gbadebo (@holudaray) August 6, 2020