There were protests yesterday in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) of Abuja, Lagos, Osun and Edo states over increasing spate of insecurity and maladministration in Nigeria.
The protesters included rights activists, civil society organisations (CSOs), labour unionists, youth bodies and other members of the society.
In Lagos, activist-lawyer Femi Falana (SAN) and his musician son, Falz, joined the protest against insecurity, unemployment, mass poverty and bad governance.
He and the other peaceful protesters carried placards with different inscriptions.
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The theme of the protest Falana led was: National Day of Action Against Insecurity in Nigeria.
The popular lawyer and his group marched to the Lagos State secretariat at Alausa, Ikeja, the state capital.
They were received by members of the State House of Assembly.
Falana told the lawmakers that there was a need to provide for the poor so that peace could be guaranteed in the country.
He urged states that had not adopted the Child Rights Act to urgently do so and take the children off the streets to enable them get an education.
“The Southwest has 54 universities; graduates are being churned out daily but nobody is planning for their future.
“We are asking you because Lagos is where everybody comes to. This is the home of every Nigerian, and we are asking you to intensify your efforts and increase the budget of the poor so that there will be peace.
“It is now clear in our country that without peace for the poor, there cannot be peace for the rich. For those who want to fight banditry and terrorism, we must put all our children in school,” Falana said.
Another activist, Jaye Gaskiya, expressed worry that Nigeria has increasingly been witnessing extreme poverty, arms proliferation, religious intolerance, ethnic hatred and agitations for secession.
In Osogbo, the Osun State capital, protesters converged on Nelson Mandela Freedom Park at 9:30 a.m and later march to the popular Oke-Fia Junction.
They carried placards and banners with various inscriptions and chanted anti-government songs.
Some of the placards and banners read: “End insurgency now”; “Buhari should speak up”; “Things are getting worse in Nigeria”; “No to poor living condition”.
The leader of the groups, Waheed Lawal, told reporters that the protest became imperative because of the level of injustice and maladministration in the country.
“I urge the residents of the state to rise against injustice, killings and other sad issues in the country.
“Despite the richness of Nigeria in natural resources and fertile land, our economy still suffers greatly. Poor leadership has put the country in the wrong direction, leading to untold hardship among the masses. We are out today to sensitise the residents of Osun to always ask for a better Nigeria.”
In Edo State, an activist, Osagie Obayuwana, said the protest was meant to call the attention of those in positions of power to honestly tackle worsening insecurity and bad governance in Nigeria.
Obayuwana, a former Edo Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, said: “We gathered at New Benin Market and we were to move to this place, the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Press Centre. There is an agency of the Edo State government called PUWOV with volunteers on matters of public works. But they attacked us, destroyed our banners and placards, took away our laptops and smashed them. They said we were against the government of Godwin Obaseki. How can that be?
“The protest is a nationwide mobilisation against insecurity and mass poverty in the country. Our coming out today (yesterday) is to say that the Nigerians can no longer keep quiet.
“At no time in the history of our country has insecurity been as terrible as it is today. You cannot travel from one town to another. Even within your village, you cannot go from your house to your farm. Children in schools have been objects of abduction.
“Seventeen southern governors urged President Muhammadu Buhari to speak to the nation, but he is yet to do so. Again, on Sunday, over 200 -pupils were kidnapped in an Islamic school in Niger State. Enough is enough.
“From our own assessment of the situation, we have seen that there is a direct relationship between insecurity and poverty. Where there is no justice, there cannot be peace and we are saying that the security of lives and property is a fundamental right that all of us are entitled to. It is also a duty that the government owes all of us.”
Culled from The Nations