The #RevolutionNow coalition on Wednesday, September 19 simultaneously held a peaceful protest in Lagos, United Kingdom and Italy.
Sowore, the presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC) in the 2019 general election and publisher of Sahara Reporters, an online news platform, was arrested for allegedly planning to convene a nationwide protest tagged: #RevolutionNow.
Recall that despite the arrest of Sowore, the planned protest, however, went ahead to hold on the scheduled date.
The protest, however, was hijacked by hoodlums and the invasion by some police officers, leading to the death of one and arrest of many.
While Sowore was arrested on August 3, Olawale was arrested on August 5 for allegedly participating in #RevolutionNow protest; and Jalingo, a journalist, who was also arrested on August 22, and have since been charged with treason.
The protesters in UK took their grievances to the Nigerian High Commission, while those in Italy stormed the Nigerian Consulate to make their demands known, which is the ‘release of their leaders.’
The RevolutionNow Protest recorded a peaceful completion in the UK and Italy but was almost marred when policemen from the state command laid siege at the premises of the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR), Ikeja, where the protest was expected to kick-off.
The Wednesday’s protest was billed to kick off from the CDHR premises at about 10a.m. but the deployment of 50 armed policemen in 10 trucks put a temporary stop to that; although the protesters finally made head-way as they were able to carry on their peaceful protest at the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos.
In a report obtained by Naija News, a top official of the CDHR who requested anonymity said the police operatives had arrived the premises of at 7:00am, two hours before the actual time for the planned protest.
In a statement signed by the group’s Co-convener, Olaseni Ajai, the police invasion of the protest venue was a signal of darker days ahead.
According to him, “Early in the morning, the police and other security forces invaded the national office of the CDHR and Sahara Reporters Offices, in another desperate attempt to forcefully stop the planned peaceful agitation against the detention of activists without trial.
“The CDHR is a human rights organisation and the Sahara Reporters is a media agency. That their offices could be invaded and sealed in this gestapo- like manner this morning in anticipation of a protest only confirms that the civil rights fought for over the years are crudely being removed by the government.
“The right to speech, associate, protest and even to think is no more guaranteed under this neo-regime.
“However, our agitation for the immediate release of Sowore, Jalingo, Olawale (Mandate) and all others currently being held in Buhari’s detention centres, and for the revolutionary transformation of the country continues.”
Meanwhile, the Lagos state Police Public Relations Officer, Bala Elkana, when contacted to speak on the matter, debunked allegations that the command deployed police to forestall the protesters.
The Police PRO in his words said; “I am not aware that anyone wanted to protest and police prevented them. What I am aware of is that we had a deployment of police around Lagos.
“The police were primarily deployed to forestall breakdown of law and order across the state, and not to stop any protesters as alleged.”