The planned RevolutionNow protest which led to the arrest of the facilitator, Omoyele Sowore, the presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC), in the 2019 presidential elections, took a different dimension in different parts of the country on Monday, August 5 as angry youths defied the odds and confronted security men dispatched to prevent the protest.
Despite the threat to their lives, arrests and torture meted out to the protesters by the security personnel, the demonstrations held in four states of the country and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
The states where the RevolutionNow protests took place were Lagos, Osun, Ondo and Cross River while the ones planned for Edo, Rivers and Oyo States were foiled by the security forces.
However, the Revolution protesters met combat-ready security operatives, who dispersed them as the demonstrations turned violent in Osun where a 70-year-old woman was brutalized. In Lagos, a Revolution protester was shot, while nine other, including some journalists, were arrested by the police.
The police had earlier vowed to treat the RevolutionNow protesters as terrorists, even though the group’s demands border largely on acute security and economic crises afflicting the nation.
With the proposed nationwide demonstration held in only four states and Abuja, the Presidency, yesterday, taunted the convener of the protest, saying the attempt to incite citizens into a revolution against their own democratic rights and interests has failed.
The protesters also demanded the release of Sowore who is being detained by the Department of State Services for “threatening national security and public safety” by calling for a protest under the hashtag #RevolutionNow.
#RevolutionNow, according to its sponsors, is a civil advocacy and democratic action convened to challenge “the ravenous revolution of the ruling elite that have for decades put our nation and the common man in bondage.”
Some protesters also took the action to the Nigerian High Commission in London.
In a video of the UK protesters posted on the internet on Monday, they demanded Sowore’s release. Instead of detaining Sowore, the UK protesters called on the security operatives to vent their anger on the Boko Haram fighters in the Sambisa Forest and kidnappers troubling Nigerians.
In Lagos, the #RevolutionNow protesters converged on Ojuelegba at 7 am from where they moved to the National Stadium, Surulere.
However, the group was prevented from entering the stadium by a team of OP MESA consisting men of the army, navy, air force, and policemen from different formations in Lagos, who had barricaded the facility.
Despite the heavy security presence, the protesters gathered in front of the complex, singing solidarity songs and calling for Sowore’s release.
Afterwards, some of the protesters engaged the policemen in a war of words, as they insisted that the demonstration was for the interest of all Nigerians.
As the verbal war degenerated , the furious policemen fired tear gas canisters into the crowd.
In the ensuing melee, many of the protesters were injured as some fled into the waiting hands of men of the Lagos State Taskforce on Environment and Special Offences (Enforcement) Unit.
The Presidency, in a statement in Abuja, signed by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, said the President Muhammadu Buhari and the government were humbled by the show of support by Nigerians not to participate in the alleged plot to remove a democratically elected government.