At least 40 protesters under the banner of #RevolutionNow were arrested in Abuja, reports said. The protesters whose pictures have gone viral on social media were rounded up after storming Unity Fountain in the city Wednesday.
Speaking about the Abuja protest, Comrade Kunle Ajayi, General Secretary, United Action for Democracy who doubles as a frontline member of TakeItBack Movement said: “We are here to lead the revolution and protest for free functional and standard education at all levels, free functional and advanced healthcare, a very good example is under this COVID-19 pandemic that we are in. Hospitals are not working; Doctors are on strike, a lot of things are wrong with the country. We decided to mobilize community by community, street by street for people to come out and tell the government that enough is enough. That Nigerians want better education, better healthcare and social welfare and topmost of it all is the issue of security. You cannot continue to do as if the country is a grave yard.
He said further, “As it is today in most part of this country, everybody is living without security. And that is why we wondered, why we legally and constitutionally came to protest at the specific place that is assigned for protest in FCT, which is the Unity Fountain. We are in the place, with face mask and we observed social distancing and we came out to protest peacefully but we were chased out of the place. Not only are we chased out, we were beaten out.”
One of the aftermath of the protest was the heavy presence of security men in the city, reports said.
The protesters were arrested and ostensibly to taken a mobile court.They were later released according to a official, Mr Ikharo Attah who heads the FCTA Task Force on COVID-19.He said “when they came to the court, the magistrate had several other cases in other courts and couldn’t sit”.
While explaining what happened, Attah said: “About 40 of them have all been released and (have) been tasked to always conform with COVID-19 whenever they are out to protest. .. You have the right to association, right to protest, a right to freedom of speech and expression but as you do all of this you must always conform to COVID-19 health protocols.
“The enforcement team went out in our normal routine operation and this time around, we made some arrests of some persons who came to protest and it is very clear that this is a democratic nation and everyone has the right to protest, to voice out, but this must be done within the rules that govern the country and one of such rules is to obey the issues of COVID-19, so they were brought to the Mobile court in line with COVID-19 violations.
“When there is protest, social distancing is very difficult to observe, so when they came to the court, the magistrate had several other cases in other courts and couldn’t sit. And in our own wisdom, as persons with listening ears, we talked to them, and it was agreed by all parties that they should go and observe all the laid down COVID-19 protocols before they will be released and they agreed to that do that.”