FOREIGN missions in Nigeria have warned their citizens to be wary of a possible outbreak of violence in the country tomorrow as the celebration of the June 12 Democracy Day is to be marked with a series of nationwide protests.
Historically, June 12 has been celebrated as a day when Nigerians finally decided to shake off the yoke of military rule and is normally marked with seminars and talks. However, this year, several protests have been planned across the country in response to the growing insecurity brought about by the activities of Fulani cattle herdsmen, kidnappers, bandits, rapists and armed robbers.
President Muhammadu Buhari has come in for fierce criticism for doing nothing to address the crisis and giving tacit support to the herdsmen. Being an ethnic Fulani who rears cattle himself, President Buhari has been accused of encouraging the herdsmen to act with impunity as they believe that with his backing they are above the law.
Earlier today, the UK high commission and the US embassy in Nigeria warned their citizens to be wary of a possible outbreak of violence tomorrow. Already, the UK high commission has posted the warning in its latest travel advisory published on its website.
It read: “On 12 June, protests over insecurity are planned in multiple locations, including large cities. You should remain vigilant, avoid demonstrations, protests or large gatherings and pay attention to local media and social media reports on protest locations.”
It noted that the Nigeria Police Force launched Operation Restore Peace on May 19 to deal with the recent increase in insecurity in south-south and southeastern states. This, the mission said, may lead to an enhanced security presence on the ground and there is no indication as to how long this operation will last.
Likewise, the US mission in Nigeria has advised its citizens to avoid the June 12 protests which will take place in several parts of the country. It said it is likely that the protests will take place at the Unity Fountain, Abuja and the Lekki Tollgate Plaza and the Gani Fawehinmi Park in Lagos.
Its advisory note read: “Several groups have announced their intentions to protest nationwide on June 12, Democracy Day. Police presence and response can be expected nationwide, including in Abuja where government events are scheduled to celebrate the national holiday and in Lagos where simultaneous protests are planned.
“The likely locations for the protests in Abuja will be at Unity Fountain, Wuse, Berger Roundabout, Aguiyi Ironsi Way, Airport Road, and British Circle. In Lagos, the likely locations for protests will be Lekki Toll Gate and Gani Fawehinmi Park. Calls for the protests suggest they may begin as early as 7am.
“Actions to Take – Avoid the areas of the demonstrations. Exercise caution if unexpectedly in the vicinity of large gatherings or protests, monitor local media for updates and keep a low profile.”