Hundreds of Nigerians took to the streets in the federal capital of Abuja and the commercial city of Lagos protesting, among other things, against unemployment and issues including rising costs of foods and medicines, access to education and lack of services including water and electricity. The protests were originally galvanized by award winning entertainer, TuFace Idibia, utilizing the social media tag; #istandwithNigeria. The singer later called off the rally citing security concerns but civil groups still went ahead with the marches.
The protesters called for a change of government as they marched through the streets of Lagos and Abuja reflecting mounting public anger over a sputtering economy and political tensions blamed on an absentee president. In a rare show of public dissent against the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, more than 500 demonstrators halted traffic in the commercial capital, flanked by a heavy police escort. Buhari has been in Britain since mid-January for treatment for an unspecified medical condition and, with no indication of when he might return, many Nigerians suspect his health is worse than officials admit.
The country is also mired in its first recession in 25 years and high inflation is driving up prices of basic goods.