By John Ikani
Despite the ongoing face-off between social media giant Twitter and the Nigerian government, the co-founder and CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey tweeted the flag of the country, an apparent reference to the celebration of Democracy Day in the country.
President, Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday said June 12 celebrations was not about the sacrifices of those who fought to enthrone democracy alone.
He said apart from honouring the sacrifices of Nigerians who fought for the return to democracy, the change in date was also to demonstrate the regime’s commitment to satisfy the aspirations of the people and creating an environment for democracy to be an accepted way of life.
However, many Nigerians have decided to use the occasion of this year’s June 12 celebration to take to 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 are simultaneously protesting in different cities across the various states of the federation, including Lagos State, Nigeria’s economic hub, and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
Deliberately planned to coincide with Nigeria’s Democracy Day, the organisers of the June 12 protests have called on Nigerians to boycott official activities lined up by authorities to commemorate the day, and join the demonstrations in their localities.
In Abuja, Some Nigerian Youths who stormed the Gudu junction in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja on Saturday morning to protest the rising insecurity in the country, clashed with some security operatives.
The protesters were seen carrying different placards with inscriptions including “Buhari must go” and “End Bad Government.”
It was gathered that the police operatives fired teargas to disperse the protesters who blocked roads in the area to decry the current state of the nation.
Confirming the incident, Abuja-based rights activist, Comrade Deji Adeyanju said the attack was carried out by the Police and DSS.
He tweeted, “We have just been attacked by the police and SSS in Abuja as expected. #June12thProtest.”
On the flip side, Supporters of President Muhammadu Buhari who stormed Unity Fountain, Abuja on Saturday morning, were seen fighting over the method of sharing money.
According to reports, the group was out to counter those protesting against bad governance across the country.
Eyewitnesses revealed that leaders of the group were seen in a heated exchange over the sharing of monetary resources meant for organising the counter protests.
Placards and banners bearing the inscription Free #Elzakzaky were also seen as Shittes Hijacked Abuja Protests before Police dispersed them.
In Lagos, Policemen fired teargas as protesters arrived at the Gani Fawehinmi Park in the Ojota, Lagos State, as Nigeria marks Democracy Day.
The protesters gathered at the park on Saturday morning despite the heavy presence of security officials.
The June 12 protestes were seen carrying different placards with inscriptions including “Buhari must go” and “End Bad Government.”
In Osun State capital – Osogbo, the Coalition of civil society held a massive rally against insecurity and unemployment in Nigeria.
The groups gathered at Oke-Fia in Osogbo around 8am on Saturday. There was heavy security presence at the venue of the protest.
Men of the DSS, Police, JTF, Amotekun and other local operatives were present at the venue.
Also, the Osun State chapter of the National Association of Nigeria Students (NANS) association joined the nationwide protest in Osogbo, the state capital, on Saturday.