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We do not recognize the Legitimacy of June 12 as Democracy Day in the first place – Northern Groups

We do not recognize the Legitimacy of June 12 as Democracy Day in the first place - Northern Groups

The Coalition of Northern Groups, CNG, has explained why it did not not participate in the planned nationwide protests on June 12, being the Democracy Day celebration of Nigeria.

 

Making remarks at a press conference, CNG’s Spokesperson, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, said it is not in their tradition to jump unto a flight without knowing its actual destination.

 

“We can’t drag the North into an agenda that is not properly stated and for which we are not even contacted. This is in addition to keeping the North away from the trap set by IPOB to sponsor infiltration in some northern states to turn the protests violent.”

 

He said in the event of any ugly incidence, the anti-North schemers would then hold the region up as the volatile section of the country.

 

 


“Another reason for the non-participation of CNG and all our affiliates and organs is the fact that we do not recognize the legitimacy of June 12 as Democracy Day in the first place,” Suleiman said.

 

CNG said, however, the protests, planned on the first anniversary of the shift of Democracy Day from 29th May to June 12, is a backlash for one of President Muhammadu Buhari’s numerous political slips that made him attach such undue relevance to the events of June 12, saying, “it serves him right.”

 

Meanwhile, for all who went for this historic protest, the Nigerian Police Force has been the gratest, and hoodlums loyal to the government, for other reasons aside the afore mentioned.

We do not recognize the Legitimacy of June 12 as Democracy Day in the first place - Northern Groups
Protesters run from tear gas fired by police in Abuja [Afolabi Sotunde/Reuters]
The men in black were armed to teeth and very active in blowing off steam on the protesters. The only state that enjoyed respect was Oyo state, as the Governor, Seyi Makinde joined in the protest, perhaps to keep to his recent promise after the recent slaughter in his state.

 

Makinde shocked protesters when he drove himself to the venue with little security to address them.

 

 


Clad in a brown attire, governor Makinde emerged amidst cheers and loud praises.

The protesters are protesting against bad governance, insecurity, and against the Muhammadu Buhari administration.

 

In places like Lagos and Abuja for instance, the case was different, while others are yet to be reported based on fact.

 

Hundreds of protesters gathered in Lagos and police fired tear gas to disperse the crowd. The protesters carried banners and placards saying “Buhari Must Go”, calling for reforms.

 

Many were arrested and injured.

 

In a particular video spotted by this medium and already viral, a policeman with his team was seen pointing a gun at running protesters while receiving the order “Shoot them”.

 

Al Jazeera’s Ahmed Idris, reporting from Lagos, said the protest march in Lagos “started peacefully and in an organised fashion, with demonstrators chanting pro-democracy songs”.

 

“The police were deployed in large numbers here in Lagos and in other parts of Nigeria in anticipation of trouble on this day,” he added. “When the demonstrators breached the first line of defence of the police, the second and the third, the police started firing tear gas at them and journalists at the scene. Later, there were live rounds fired in the air.”

 

 


In Abuja, a similar scenario played out as the protesters gathered as early as 7am.

 

A detachment of police and army broke up the crowd using tear gas, AFP news agency reporters at the scene said, adding that some journalists were harassed by the security forces.

 

Police had said the protests were unauthorised and AFP reporters said they saw several people being detained.

 

“We cannot continue like this … all the bad governance must stop,” said protester Samson Okafor in Lagos, where tear gas canisters smouldered in the street as police shouted at demonstrators to leave the scene.

We do not recognize the Legitimacy of June 12 as Democracy Day in the first place - Northern Groups

Officers were also seen smashing mobile phones confiscated from protesters, some of whom criticised the government’s decision to suspend access to Twitter after the social media platform removed a post by Buhari.

 

Buhari, a former general first elected as president in 2015, has been under pressure over growing insecurity in Africa’s most populous nation, home to more than 200 million people.

 

Security forces are battling an armed uprising in the northeast, a surge in mass kidnappings and attacks by criminal gangs in the northwest, and a rise in separatist tensions in the southeast.

 

 


The government also triggered an outcry a week ago when it indefinitely suspended Twitter in the country, saying the platform was used for activities aiming to destabilize Nigeria.

 

After joining the protest, at the Gani Fawehinmi Park in the Ojota area, the venue of the June 12 protest in Lagos State, Debo Adebayo, also known as Mr Macaroni, while addressing journalists, queried why the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), who contested presidential elections at least four times before he got to power, is the same person causing pains to Nigerians.

 

In February 2021, Mr Macaroni was arrested for protesting at the Lekki toll gate where he demanded that justice be served to the victims of the October 20 2020 #EndSARS protest at the toll plaza.

 

Saturday’s demonstrations were called to coincide with “Democracy Day”, marking the anniversary of Moshood Kashimawo Abiola’s election as Nigerian president in 1993.

 

Abiola’s victory was annulled by the then military government, plunging Nigeria into months of civil unrest.

 

Nigeria returned to civilian rule in May 1999, Buhari chose June 12 as Democracy Day after becoming president to honour Abiola and other heroes of the struggle but a recent announcement placed the holiday for June 14, and many do not see this as a mistake.

 

 


In Abuja, Hundreds of protesters loyal to President Muhammadu Buhari marched on the streets.

 

Many of the protesters wore green t-shirts and carried printed placards.

 

“Thank you PMB as you continue to connect Nigerians through the installations of new rails,” reads an inscription one of the placards.

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