Today marks the somewhat beginning of the #IStandWithNigeria protests which has become one of the most publicized civil protests after #OccupyNigeria in 2012.
There were several stumbling blocks which made so many Nigerians doubt the eventual possibility of the protests. Recall that some days ago, Tuface Idibia who was the face of the protests backed out at the very last moment. However, that and the subtle threats by the Police did not deter Nigerians from trooping out in their hundreds to protest against bad governance.
People trooped out in the early hours of Monday morning in Lagos to converge at the National Stadium in Surulere while those in Abuja converged at the Unity Fountain to later move to the Aso Villa with placards, chanting anti-government songs and slogans.
Heavy police presence was seen at Gani Fawehimi park, Ojota, Lagos as protesters were prevented from gaining access to the park to gather and protest.
Despite the huge presence of security forces in strategic locations, Nigerians were not intimidated from carrying out their civic rights by making public their disdain for bad governance.
At the moment, protesters in Lagos have started leaving from National Theatre, Iganmu, after being addressed by Charly Boy, Seyi Law, others. Organizers thanke the police for providing security while it lasted. Protesters mill out and head their separate ways.
While in Abuja, the protesters are back to Unity Fountain, leaving behind the pro-Buhari group who also came out to show support and loyalty to the government.
Reports reaching us has it that Port Harcourt protesters were ‘not allowed’ to converge. According to Channels Television, police dispersed protesters in Port Harcourt, making it impossible for them to gather — or even protest.
While in Ibadan, Femi Aborisade, human rights activist and lawyer, addressed the crowd as protesters in Ibadan, Oyo state, started their march at the University gate and ended it in Bodija market.
Only time will tell how impacting the protests have been.
And from the outlook of today’s protests, according to Charlie Boy, “Nigerians will march again in March”.