Civil society groups, students and other concerned citizens, on Saturday, staged a peaceful protest in Benin City amid tight security to mark June 12.
It was observed that a combined team of security operatives, who were more in number than the protesters, were at the Museum ground, the take-off venue of the protest to forestall the breakdown of law and order.
- June 12: Journalists, human rights lawyer arrested in Calabar
- Markets, shops shut as Yoruba nation agitators, others join protests in Ogun
The protesters, armed with placards of various inscriptions such as: “Stop capitalism”, “22 years after, we are back on the streets fighting for democracy”, “respect human rights,” among others, matched to the government house and were received by the deputy governor, Philip Shaibu.
Speaking on behalf of the group, Abraham Oviawe, lamented that 22 years after the current dispensation, the country was back to the trench fighting for freedom again.
“22 years after, there is still a disparity between the rich and the poor; there is still hunger and unemployment rate keeps rising and insecurities continue unabated and there is no freedom,” he said.
Oviawe, however, appealed to the Edo State Government to find a lasting solution to the crisis in the State House of Assembly, especially on the 14 members-elect who have not been sworn in.
On his part, the president of One Love Foundation, Patrick Ekholor, said the state government must push for state police so as to ensure the safety of lives and property.
Responding, Shaibu said the issue of the 14 members- elect is not in the hand of the state government but the court.
Shaibu, however, called for the removal of a bicameral legislature in the constitution to reduce the cost of governance.
While commending the protesters for channelling their grievances peacefully, he said democracy must continue to exist with freedom of speech.