by Seyi Lawal
Protests picked up today considering reports from yesterday that claimed it was business as usual in some areas in Nigeria.
Protests started peacefully in Kano and picked up in Sokoto. Some business folks who opened their stores in Akure were forced to shut down as the rally went into full swing and Aba lawyers came out to show solidarity to the cause. It was a carnival-like affair in Ibadan and in Ondo State as more people took to the streets to chant anti subsidy solgans.
The rally took a violent turn in Minna though. According to reports, Governor Muazu Aliyu’s campaign office was set on fire, Tanko Beji, the state PDP chairman’s office was also burnt and apparently the mob made away with a sack load of cash including plasma TVs and other items. The campaign office of House of Assembly member, Hajiya Jumai Jafaru, was also set ablaze including Senator Dahiru Awaisu Kuta’s residence and the Mobil roundabout was vandalised.
The rally turned riots turned fatal after a police Inspector was reported killed and even burnt afterwards, the NNPC Mega filling station went up in flames along with the old State Secretariat and the INEC Office. An attempt to burn down the house of the Governor’s mother failed following the intervention of the police who not surprising settled the matter by shooting sporadically in the air. The State has now issued a 24 hour curfew following the events.
Parts of Lagos descended into chaos with gangs attacking a police car with sticks and ripping down signposts. The main groups of protesters in Lagos, however, remained peaceful, with some 10,000 people at one of the largest demonstrations dancing and singing anti-government songs.
Much of the country was shut down for a third day. The Director General of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Muda Yusuf, saaid the country is losing about N82 billion daily to the on-going strike.
Yusuf told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Wednesday that he arrived at the figure based on the country’s national output.
The labour unions and civil liberty organisations started a national strike on Monday to protest the removal of subsidy on petrol. The strike entered the third day on Wednesday.