Estimated Reading Time: 2
The police on Saturday shot teargas to disperse protesters in the Gudu area of Abuja and Ojota area of Lagos as the country marked Democracy Day on June 12.
The protesters had earlier blocked the Gudu Junction to protest the state of the nation.
The protesters in Gudu had turned out in their numbers carrying placards and banners with various inscriptions.
Among their demands was the resignation of President Muhammadu Buhari from office. According to them the president has failed in addressing the challenges in the country, including that of insecurity.
Among those leading the protest were social activists Omoyele Sowore and Deji Adeyanju.
However, as the protesters continued their protest, heavily armed policemen stormed the scene and began shooting tear gas into the air, dispersing the protest.
Similar protests were held across the country on Saturday. A BBC reporter, identified as Micheal, was on Saturday attacked by a police officer during #June12Protest at Mokola in Ibadan, Oyo State.
The reporter, who works with BBC Pidgin, was slapped while trying to record the harassment of protesters by security operatives.
He was attacked by a police officer identified as S. A. Oke. The officer also seized the reporter’s phone.
The police officer also vowed to kill any protester who refused to listen to their orders. Some officers were heard saying protest is ‘illegal on democracy day’.
Many Nigerians have taken over the streets in peaceful protests against bad governance, public corruption, other forms of maladministration and the worsening state of insecurity across the country.
Like the #EndSARS protests which rocked Nigeria in October 2020, the June 12 protest, organised by some civil society organisations and activists with no particular central leadership structure, is billed to hold simultaneously in different cities across the various states of the federation, including Lagos State, Nigeria’s economic hub, and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
Democracy Day is June 12, a national public (bank) holiday in Nigeria. Until June 6, 2018, it was held annually on May 29. Democracy Day marks the day the military handed over power to an elected civilian government in 1999, marking the beginning of the longest continuous civilian rule since Nigeria’s independence from colonial rule in 1960. It is a tradition that has been held annually, beginning in year 2000. June 12 was formerly known as Abiola Day, celebrated in Lagos, Nigeria and some south western states of Nigeria.
Nigeria’s Democracy Day is a public holiday to commemorate the restoration of democracy in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. May 29 was initially the official democracy day in Nigeria, marking when the newly elected Olusegun Obasanjo took office as the President of Nigeria in 1999, ending multiple decades of military rule that began in 1966 and had been interrupted only by a brief period of democracy from 1979 to 1983.
On June 6, 2018, eight days after May 29, 2018 had been celebrated as Democracy Day, the President Buhari-led Federal Government of Nigeria declared June 12 to be the new Democracy Day.