Frustration boiled over in Minna, Niger State, as youths and women took to the streets on Monday, protesting the “biting hardship” and increasing cost of living under the Tinubu administration.
Niger State is just over one hundred and sixty kilometres from Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city.
The demonstration began with a group of women blocking the busy Minna-Bida Road near the Kpakungu Roundabout, lamenting their struggles under the current economic situation. They were soon joined by men and young people, bringing traffic to a standstill.
In passionate Hausa language chants, the protesters expressed their discontent with the worsening economic situation, highlighting rising food prices like rice exceeding N2,000 per measure and maize reaching N1,000 per module.
“The Federal Government needs to act now to ease the suffering of ordinary Nigerians,” declared Ibrahim Gana, one of the protesters. “This situation is becoming unbearable.”
Tensions flared as police attempted to disperse the crowd and arrest some individuals. Undeterred, the youths reportedly chased away the officers, chanting that they were “agents of the government” and wouldn’t stop the protest.
Bystanders also described narrowly escaping injuries during the commotion. To regain control, police resorted to firing teargas, but the determined protesters remained undeterred.
Reacting to the incident, Niger State Police spokesperson Wasiu Abiodun downplayed the use of force, claiming they employed “minimum force” to disperse the crowd. He justified the action by stating the protesters were disrupting traffic and hindering people from going about their daily lives.
“We had to use minimum force to disperse the protesters and re-open the road,” Abiodun asserted. “Traffic is now flowing freely.”
While the immediate protest may have dispersed, the underlying discontent over the rising cost of living and economic hardship remains a simmering issue in Niger State and across Nigeria. This incident highlights the growing frustration among citizens and raises questions about the government’s effectiveness in addressing these concerns.