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#EndHunger protest erupts in Lagos, Abuja, Benin

Amid the commemoration of Democracy Day celebration, activists in Lagos and Abuja, took to the streets to protest against the deepening hunger crisis gripping the…

Amid the commemoration of Democracy Day celebration, activists in Lagos and Abuja, took to the streets to protest against the deepening hunger crisis gripping the nation.

In Lagos, the demonstrators assembled at the Ikeja Under Bridge, with their voices crying out against the backdrop of tightened security measures.

Holding banners emblazoned with slogans like: “This hunger is too much” and “Reverse anti-people policies”, they demanded immediate action to alleviate the plight of the starving populace.

The protesters, comprising members from civil society groups such as the Take It Back Movement, the Education Rights Campaign, the Coalition for Revolution and the Socialist Workers League, declared June 12, 2024, as a national day of action against hunger and hardship.

Their message resonated nationwide, as similar protests erupted in Abuja and other major cities.

Speaking on behalf of the groups, Sanyaolu Juwon, the National Coordinator of Take It Back Movement, asserted that Tinubu’s administration had exacerbated the crises confronting Nigeria, pushing millions of Nigerian workers, youths, students, farmers, traders, artisans and the impoverished masses into deeper levels of suffering, hardship and acute hunger.

In Benin, Kola Edokpayi, leader of the group,  said the protest was to vent their frustration over the state of the nation.

“We reject totally this brand of democracy being practiced in the country. This our democracy is not for the people, it is against the people. We cannot continue to be silent in the midst of poverty, hardship and unemployment.

“The masses are suffocating due to iron grip of hunger, poverty and economic downturn under President Bola Tinubu,” he added.

Meanwhile, ActionAid Nigeria (AAN) condemned the arrest and detention of peaceful protesters in Abuja and Lagos, labelling the crackdown as a suppression of constitutional and democratic rights.

The abduction of Juwon Sanyaolu, a prominent protest leader in Lagos, and the arrest of activists from Activista in Abuja were cited as egregious violations.

Andrew Mamedu, AAN’s country director, demanded the immediate release of all the detainees and called for an end to the repression of peaceful protests.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, ActionAid urged President Bola Tinubu to align his government’s actions with the democratic values he espoused, emphasising the need for accountability and respect for citizens’ rights.

 

“We draw inspiration from the leadership of the late Khalifa Muhammad Sanusi who refused to be swayed by personal interests and declined reinstatement after his dethronement. We, therefore, urge Khalifa Muhammad Sanusi II to follow his grandfather’s footsteps and prioritise the peace and stability of Kano.

 

“We kindly call on everyone to put the people’s interests first and work towards a peaceful resolution that is legally accepted. We pray for divine guidance and wisdom for our leaders and for peace to reign in Kano State and Nigeria.”

From Peter Moses, Lagos, Usman A. Bello, Benin & Abbas Jimoh, Abuja

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