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‘We’re Hungry’: Nigerians Protest Over Economic Hardship In Lagos 

In commemoration of the Democracy Day celebration, some Nigerians took to the streets of Lagos to protest the hardship experienced since the current administration took over in May 2023, implementing policies many have described as “anti-people”.

On Democracy Day, a day meant to celebrate 25 years of unbroken democracy in Nigeria, some Lagos residents in the South West region of the country cast a shadow of discontent. Large crowds thronged the streets today to protest the hardship caused by the rising cost of living since President Bola Tinubu took over power in 2023. 

A coalition of Nigerian Civil Societies, including the Take-It-Back Movement (TIB), Joint Action Force (JAF), Education Rights Campaign (ERC), Community Women Initiative, and Socialist Workers and Youth League (SWL), organised the protest.

The demonstrators, mostly youths, blocked the Ikeja under-bridge area to express their grievances in the presence of armed police officers led by the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Adegoke Fayoade.

They were seen carrying placards with various inscriptions to express their grievances about the country’s current economic hardship.

Protesters holding signs demanding political change and reversal of fuel price hike on a busy street.
Protesters displaying placards. Photo: Adejumo Kabir/HumAngle.

Speaking with HumAngle, the National Coordinator of ERC, Hassan Soweto, said they came out as “hungry Nigerians who are fed up with the condition of hardship that the current administration has brought to the country.”

“It’s been one year of pain and hunger as a direct product of the anti-poor policies of the government. They removed fuel subsidies, devalued the naira, and increased electricity tariffs. The combination of all of these policies is why we are protesting. We are here today to say enough of these hardships,” Soweto said.

On his part, the National Mobiliser of Joint Action Force, Peluola Adewale, said the reason for their protest was that silence was no longer an option. “This is one of the many actions and protests we will take to let Tinubu know we are hungry. We can’t remain at home and expect change. That’s why we are protesting.” 

One of the placards displayed at the protest ground. Photo: Adejumo Kabir/HumAngle.

Funmi Jolade-Ajayi from the Community Women Initiative said the protesters will continue to register their grievances against the government if life remains miserable for Nigerians. 

“Cost of living is so high… Why is the government making life unbearable for the poor? That’s the reason why we are on the streets protesting.”

Asked if they were intimidated by the presence of armed police officers, Jolade-Ajayi said, “They [police] are also affected by the hardship in Nigeria, but they cannot speak. Since they are voiceless, we are here to speak for all Nigerians, including the helpless police officers.”

A group of police officers in camouflage uniforms gathered on a busy street with some directing traffic.
Some of the police officers present at the protest. Photo: Adejumo Kabir/HumAngle.

The protesters also called for the immediate release of Sanyaolu Juwon, the national coordinator of the Take It Back (TIB) movement, who was arrested on Tuesday night. He was said to be arrested in his Lagos home around 10:15 p.m. ahead of the planned protest.

Meanwhile, Lagos State Police Command boss Fayoade said police were unaware of Juwon’s arrest. He, however, said the command would meet after the protest to find out the activist’s whereabouts. 

HumAngle observed that some market men and women also joined the protesters in solidarity with their demands. 

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Adejumo Kabir

Kabir works at HumAngle as the Editor of Southern Operations. He is interested in community development reporting, human rights, social justice, and press freedom. He was a finalist in the student category of the African Fact-checking Award in 2018, a 2019 recipient of the Diamond Awards for Media Excellence, and a 2020 recipient of the Thomson Foundation Young Journalist Award. He was also nominated in the journalism category of The Future Awards Africa in 2020. He has been selected for various fellowships, including the 2020 Civic Media Lab Criminal Justice Reporting Fellowship and 2022 International Centre for Journalists (ICFJ) 'In The Name of Religion' Fellowship.

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