Protests erupted in cities across Nigeria against bad governance and corruption as the country marked its 60th independence anniversary. The protestors under the aegis of Coalition for Revolution (CORE) defied police warning to stage the protest in Abuja.
According to the Vanguard newspaper, 10 protestors who were arrested at the converging point for the protest were tortured and released by officers from the Department of State Security (DSS).
Convener of the group, Basit Olokuta, slammed the Department of State Services (DSS) for its heavy-handedness against protestors who he said were demanding for a better country. “It is greatly unfortunate at this time in the history of Nigeria as a democratic nation, personnel of the DSS can still harass and brutalized female protesters,” he said.
“They had wanted to take them away but we stood our ground before they were released. I was also mercilessly beaten at Ola-Iya junction by the DSS men before we were allowed to proceed with the protest.”
In Lagos, protestors were violently attacked by the Lagos police force after which some were arrested, according to media reports. The Lagos State Police Command in a statement said the protestors were arrested for “likely” breach of peace.
“The Lagos State Police Command has arrested 30 protesters at various locations within the state for unlawful assembly and conduct likely to cause a breach of public peace and other offenses including violation of COVID-19 protocols/laws in the state,” Olumuyiwa Adejobi, spokesperson for the Lagos State Police Command, said.
He also hinted that the arrested individuals, who put on crested vests of #RevolutionNow with placards, will be charged in court on Friday, October 2, 2020.
In Kaduna State, members of the Coalition for Democracy demanded an end to the hike in the pump price of petrol as well as the increase in electricity tariff.
President Muhammadu Buhari struck a reconciliatory tone in his independence address to Nigerians as he appealed for unity and patriotism while vowing to protect the country’s democracy. He said Nigeria’s founding fathers worked towards the country’s unification in a politically stable and viable entity.
”An underlying cause of most of the problems we have faced as a nation is in our consistent harping on artificially contrived fault-lines that we have harboured and allowed unnecessarily to fester,” President Buhari said in a televised address on Thursday.
Buhari, 77, assured Nigerians that his administration is laying a solid foundation for a sustainable future despite numerous challenges.
Sixty (60) years after independence, Nigeria continues to face hurdles in unifying and satisfying its multitude of ethnic groups. It is home to some 300 hundred ethnic groups and three dominant ones: Igbo, Yoruba and Hausa.
These ethnic groups lived as separate entities until they were merged by the British colonial administration. Nigeria operates a federal system of governance with the capital located in Abuja.