Lagos, Nigeria, Feb 7 – Hundreds of Nigerians took to the streets in Lagos on Monday to protest against the government’s handling of the country’s economic crisis and to demand solutions to a crippling recession.
Some 500 people gathered from early morning at the National Stadium in the commercial capital, holding signs including “The unemployed are hungry and angry” and “I will not be silent.”
The protestors then marched through the streets to the rhythm of drums and trumpets, singing “enough is enough”.
“Everything is very expensive today: the price of food, the price of gasoline has increased. We suffer but politicians do not care,” student Elias Ozikpu told AFP.
“Two years ago we elected a new government because the previous one was corrupt but we don’t see any change, it’s even worse now.”
The protestors were accompanied by police, who had earlier warned Nigerians not to assemble because of fears of a “breakdown of law and order with attendant loss of lives and property”.
On Sunday, the initiator of the protest, leading Afro-pop star 2Face, announced he had pulled out of the rally because of security concerns.
But his call to action – a rare event from a celebrity in Nigeria – had received widespread popular support and several civil society organisations vowed to carry on with the protest.
In the administrative capital of Abuja, dozens of people also turned out and marched to the presidential villa in protest at President Muhammadu Buhari’s economic policies.
Nigerians have been suffering after a fall in oil prices since mid-2014 slashed government revenue, pushing up inflation to more than 20 percent and weakening the naira currency.
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, standing in for Buhari who is abroad for medical treatment, said in response that the protest was noted.
“We hear you loud and clear, those who are on the streets protesting the economic situation and even those who are not, but feel the pain of economic hardship,” he said.
“We hear you loud and clear. You deserve a decent life and we are working night and day to make life easier.”