Monday 19.12.2016 in Latest Developments in Nigeria Country Page
Religious tensions, the right to housing and the fight against corruption were some of the issues driving protests across Nigeria in recent months. On 13th November, at least ten people died when police used lethal force during clashes with members of the shiite Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), during a religious procession near the northern city of Kano. Thousands of IMN members took part in the procession despite a ban imposed by Kano state authorities. According to IMN spokesman Ibrahim Musa, 18 people were killed after police opened fire on peaceful protesters although an AFP report placed the figure at 10. Police claimed that the group were armed with bows and arrows and posed a threat to innocent civilians and motorists. AFP also reports that IMN 'seeks to establish an Islamic state through an Iranian-style revolution.' Amnesty international called the police's use of live ammunition against the protestors unlawful.
Two days later, on 15th November, thousands of residents of a waterfront community in Lagos marched to the local governor's office to protest against the demolition of their homes as part of a growing drive to clear out shanty towns around Nigeria's commercial hub. Three people died during the demolitions and 11 others were reported missing. The residents group issued a statement, saying:
'We condemn the forced evictions of over 30,000 hard-working, law-abiding citizens from Otodo Gbame and thousands more from Ebute-Ikate on 9-11 November 2016. We in particular condemn the use of fire, demolition in the middle of the night and the tragic loss of lives of persons who drowned when chased by police into the Lagos lagoon.'
On 22nd November, a coalition of civil society organisations protested to demonstrate their dissatisfaction with the retrospective approval of 100 million Naira (about 300,000 dollars) worth of housing pensions for former Edo State governor Adams Oshiomhole and his deputy Dr. Pius Odubu. Violence occurred when a group of pro-government supporters attacked the demonstration, leading to the injury of 10 protesters.
On 28th November, members of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities demanded the discharge of the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology Akure Professor Adebiyi Daramola, who was accused of financial mismanagement. One person lost his life during the protest, having been hit by one of the Vice Chancellor's vehicles while attempting to prevent protesters from entering the office.
Peaceful protests also took place in Nigeria in recent months. On 1st November, constitutional lawyers and human rights activists from various parts of the country staged a protest in Abuja calling for the release of former National Security Adviser, Mohammed Sambo Dasuki, and others who remained in detention despite being granted bail by the court. The ECOWAS Court of Justice ordered Dasuki's release in October, but its decision is yet to be honoured by the Nigerian government. Other recent protests included those carried out by staff of a technical college in Uyo, HIV-AIDS treatment advocates and traders opposing higher taxes.
On 7th November, Dr. John Danfulani, a former political science lecturer at Kaduna State University and human rights activist was charged under the Penal Code with inciting the public following a Facebook post criticising the Governor of Kaduna state Nasir El-Rufai. Danfulani is a vocal critic of the state government and has recently condemned its ban on protests. He was released on conditional bail, after he submitted his passport and produced sureties of his property in Kaduna. Dr. Danfulani spent 13 days of remand in Kaduna Prison without trial.