More than 100 #RevolutionNow protesters were arrested by security personnel in various parts of the country on Wednesday for offences ranging from breach of COVID-19 protocols, breach of peace and acts of violence.
Protests were held on the streets of Lagos; Abuja, in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT); Osogbo, the Osun State capital and Ore, in Ondo State, over increasing insecurity, festering corruption, the poor state of the education and health sectors amongst other issues..
In Abuja, over 40 protesters who were arrested by the joint security personnel at Unity Fountain in Maitama area for violating the COVID-19 protocols were brought before an FCT Mobile Court for prosecution.
But Magistrate Idayat Akanni, who was to preside over the matter, had other cases in another court and could not sit.
Speaking on behalf of the FCT Ministerial Task Team on COVID-19, Ikharo Attah said Nigerians have the right to protest but must do so within the ambit of the law and COVID-19 protocols.
In Lagos, 22 protesters who were demanding actions against insecurity, bad governance and corruption were arrested at Ikeja Underbridge around 9 a.m while staging a peaceful protest.
Chanting solidarity songs and displaying placards with inscriptions, such as “Nigerians are sick and tired of poverty, corruption, injustice and untimely death; say no to injustice; yes, to living wage for unemployed youths…”, protesters decried the alarming insecurity; unemployment, hunger, increase in taxation and the plan to review education budget downwards.
The protest did not last as security operatives dispersed the protesters. The operatives were also accused of assault and human rights abuses during their demonstration including shaving off the hair with a knife and broken bottle as well as flogging with iron rod
Condemning the action of the security operatives, a Co-convener of Coalition for Revolution (CORE), Gbenga Komolafe said such attacks would not deter the protesters.
Although most of the protesters arrested in Abuja and Kano were later released, Komolafe said their Lagos colleagues were beaten up and later whisked to Area F Police Command, Ikeja.
Lagos Police Command spokesman Bala Elkana confirmed that 25 protesters were arrested for obstructing traffic and concealing the number plates on their vehicles.and have been charged to court.
In Osun State, a leader of the protesters Olawale Bakare, and six others in Osogbo were arrested. Some of the others were identified as: Abiodun Sanusi, Samuel Olowofela, Gift, Martin and Okunlola.
In Ondo State, police spokesman Tee-Leo Ikoro, an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), said they did not touch the protesters who marched on Ore because they were peaceful.
Meanwhile, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has condemned the arrest of the protesters in various parts of the country.
In a statement by its Deputy Director Kolawole Oluwadare, SERAP said: “By failing to adequately protect protesters from violent attacks, Nigerian authorities have blatantly violated their obligations under the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 (as amended), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to which Nigeria is a state party.”