Security operatives on Wednesday dispersed demonstrators who were carrying out a #RevoltuionNow protest in Abuja.
A team of security operatives including the Department of State Services (DSS), Nigerian Police Force (NPF), and the Army, pursued both protesters and journalists from the scene of the protest.
The march was a commemoration of the nationwide protest stagged by members of the #RevolutionNow movement headed by Mr. Omoyele Sowore in 2019.
Sowore, the leader of the movement, was not among the demonstrators in Abuja on Wednesday, however, the march was led by Mr. Pelumi Olajegbensi, who called for a change in government, and insisted that there is a need for political revolution.
Mr. Olajegbensi accused the Federal Government of failing to protect Nigerians, citing insecurity, growing unemployment amongst other issues.
“There is a need for us as young people who are interested in the future of this country to raise our voices so we can be heard.
“Nigeria is currently in a state of emergency, our country has been reduced to a state of surrender; we cannot continue like this.
“Today, we are concerned as young people that a lot of our youths graduate from tertiary institutions and are unemployed because there is no job for them, this has increased the rate of crime in the country.
“Our demand today is for a conscious political revolution, a need for change in leadership,” he stressed.
Mr. Olajegbensi also called for a revamp in various sectors of the economy.
The #RevolutionNow demonstration did not hold in Abuja alone, there were protest marches in Ogun, Ondo and Osun states.
There have been several reports of persons arrested in the various states where the demonstration took place.
Channels Television gathered that about five protesters were arrested in Abeokuta within the early hours of the day, while seven people were arrested in Osogbo, however, it remains unclear how many persons were apprehended in other states.
Below are some photos from the scene of the protest in Abuja.
The arrest and manhandling of individuals who were part of the recent #RevolutionNow protest have stirred outrage all over social media.
Many persons who reacted to news of the various arrests, termed the actions of security agents, an infringement on the rights of citizens.
The arrest of protesters a violation of fundamental rights – ASCAB
The Alliance for Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond (ASCAB) says the arrest of #RevolutionNow protesters is a violation of the fundamental human rights as ethrenched in the Nigerian constitution.
The coalition led by Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana, in a communique on Wednesday, said scores of protesters took to the streets in Lagos, Abuja, Kano, and Osogbo in the morning hours on Wednesday, defying heavy security presence in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja where soldiers joined the police to arrest the first set of protesters.
ASCAB said the protests were legitimate and sum up an outburst of pent up anger against the increasingly intolerant Nigerian state.
The group said the poor economic conditions of Nigerians is pushing many people to the cliff edge of frustration, pangs, and pains.
“The arrests violate the constitution of Nigeria since every citizen has the right to peaceful assembly. The protesters did not break any known law. What they did was to express their democratic rights as aggrieved citizens” ASCAB National Chairman, Mr Femi Falana, (SAN) a foremost human rights lawyer said.
He praised the protesters for conducting themselves in peaceful manners without resorting to violence.
“We saw young men and women coming out to protest against injustice. This is in line with democratic tradition anywhere in the world. The arrests and violent attacks on the protesters represent a grievous violation of the constitution that the security operatives should uphold and defend” Falana said.
He called for the immediate and unconditional release of the protesters saying any attempt to continue to detain them has legal implications for the Federal Government.
Mr. Falana noted that there is no wrongdoing in having harmless youths protest and demand for an end to corruption and bad governance.
The human rights activist also said that it is within the rights of the protesters to seek the release of Sahara Publisher, Mr. Omoyele Sowore, as well as ask for the provision of palliatives for millions of extremely poor Nigerians, improvement in Nigeria-s poor health system and increase in wages for workers who are currently battered by the impact of the backlog of arrears and salaries owed by many state governments and the private sector.