Nigerians who took part in a demonstration to demand an end to the disregard of civil liberties and court orders by the Buhari administration have been attacked in Abuja.
Deji Adeyanju, one of the leaders of the protest, was hospitalised after sustaining bruises on his left arm, PREMIUM TIMES learnt. Witnesses said the attack was carried out by pro-government protesters.
A reporter for AriseTV who covered the protest said pro-Buhari demonstrators violently disrupted it, chasing Mr Adeyanju and others from the venue.
An amateur video shared on Twitter showed some youth singing praises of President Muhammadu Buhari advancing towards the kick-off venue of the protest outside the National Human Rights Commission. An AIT reporter who first shared it told PREMIUM TIMES her colleague captured the scene shortly before violence broke out Monday morning.
The protest held on Monday morning after the expiration of a two-week ultimatum which activists issued to Mr Buhari to order immediate compliance to outstanding court orders by federal law enforcement authorities. The Lagos leg of the demonstration also held in Lagos on Monday with light attendance.
It was planned after security agents from the State Security Service invaded the Federal High Court in Abuja and arrested Omoyele Sowore, an activist and newspaper publisher first arrested in August.
Two court orders for Mr Sowore’s release have been disregarded since September. Activists also said other Nigerians are being held in illegal detention by the Nigerian government and should be released.
Other Nigerian journalists, rights advocates and social commentators have been arrested and charged in what activists are seeing as an intensified plot to shrink the country’s civic space.
Mr Buhari has refused to comply with the court orders to release Mr Sowore despite growing local and international demand.
It was unclear how many people were wounded at the protest in Abuja, but there are claims on social media that several demonstrators were wounded alongside Mr Adeyanju. Ariyo-Dare Atoye, an associate of Mr Adeyanju who took part in the protest, said the activist had been discharged from the hospital and taken to a location where he has been recuperating.