The Nigerian government has said it will not prevent people from registering their displeasure with the state of the nation through peaceful protests.
“This administration will not prevent Nigerians from expressing themselves in peaceful protests,” said Laolu Akande media aide to Vice President Yemi Osibanjo Friday on Twitter. “Tt’s a fundamental right of the people. ”Akande’s clarification came after the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr Fatai Owoseni, said his command would not allow the protest planned by popular artist, Innocent Idibia, also known as Tuface, to hold in any part of the state.He said his command had received an intelligence report that criminals were planning to hijack the process to wreak havoc on Lagos.
“We know that Tuface does not have the capacity to contain such a crowd and we will not fold our hands and watch while things go out of hand,” he stressed. Tuface had announced that he would a ‘massive nationwide’ protest on February 5. He later postponed the planned mass action to February 6. He said there was a “need for Nigerians to rise against what is happening in this country having waited patiently for the legislatures that were elected to represent the people all to no avail.”
“A call for good governance,” he said. “A call for urgent explanation into the reckless economic downturn nationwide. A call for nationwide protests as we say No to the Executive, No to legislatures, No to judiciary…. You have all failed us.” But Akande said the government has been investing in social programmes aimed at easing off the suffering of millions of Nigerians, claiming that the level of such investment has never been seen in the country. “No government has ever laid out the kind of Social Investment Programme the Buhari govt is now running across the nation that will touch millions,” he said. With rising prices of commodities, the effects of the programmes are yet to be felt by the people. The government acknowledged this problem on Wednesday at the Federal Executive Council and announced that it had set up a committee that would ensure a steady flow of produce to markets and reverse the rising food prices across Nigeria.