Uyo residents finally join anti-government protest

Protesters in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State

After the initial failure in the morning to join other Nigerian cities in the peaceful protest, residents of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, later held a protest march in the afternoon against the federal government.

Lagos, Abuja, and Port Harcourt were some of the cities that the protest took place.

Concerned Citizens, who were the first set of organisers, cancelled the Uyo protest when the popular Nigerian singer and the originator of the idea, Tuface, backed out.

Throughout Monday morning, till 11.30 a.m., there was no single protester at the popular Ibom Plaza, Uyo, where the protest was planned to take place.

John Ntekim, a spokesman for Concerned Citizens, told PREMIUM TIMES in the morning that they couldn’t go ahead with the protest after Tuface’s withdrawal.

But in the afternoon, around 1.15p.m, another set of young men, who apparently didn’t want the city to be left out in the historic protest, mobilised a handful of residents to the Ibom Plaza where they demonstrated against the economic hardship in the country.

Toyo Jimmy, a young lawyer who led the protest, said the mobilisation was done under the aegis of One Voice Nigeria, Akwa Ibom section.

“Nigerians are suffering, and there are no clear-cut policies and programmes from the government to address the problems in this country. Instead, things are getting worse,” Mr. Jimmy said.

“We are sending a clear message to the federal government that the Nigerian youth are hungry. We need a change that this government promised us,” Mr. Jimmy said, adding that the protest had no political or ethnic affiliation.

Police officers were not seen around the amphitheatre in the plaza where the demonstration took place.

The protesters, who were mostly young unemployed graduates in the city, told PREMIUM TIMES that they were fed up with President Muhammadu Buhari’s government.

“I am sponsored by hunger. I am sponsored by the pains I go through every day,” said one of the protesters who gave his name as Endiong John.

Another protester, Jonathan Akpan, told PREMIUM TIMES that he graduated two years ago from the department of Educational Technology, University of Calabar, and that he was tired of going around dropping applications in several places without getting any response.

“I have a strong feeling that this protest could bring about something good,” Mr. Akpan said.

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