‘High cost of living’ — Nigerians protest over hardship in Niger

Youths and women of Niger State have taken to the streets of Minna, protesting over what they called the biting hardship and the rising cost of living in the country.

The protest started when a group of women blocked Minna-Bida Road at the popular Kpakungu Roundabout to lament what they termed the suffering under the Bola Tinubu government. They were later joined by men and youths stopping vehicles from moving.

Protesters hit the streets of Niger on Monday.

The protest occurred in the morning when some of the youths began speaking in the Hausa language, lamenting how the country’s economy was getting worse under the leadership of Ahmed Tinubu.

A deployment of police operatives to the scene could not stop the youths from the protest as some of them could be heard saying that the police were the agents of the government and they could not do anything.

One of the youths, who gave his name as Ibrahim Gana, said, “Rice was sold at the cost of N2,000 at Minna markets while maize was N1,000 per module (measure).

“The Federal Government needs to take action to reduce the hardship being faced by the poor Nigerians. Things are becoming unbearable.”

According to a civil servant and father of five, Malam Shehu Usman, the current situation is beyond explanation. He described the price hikes as something that needed divine intervention.

“We have to turn to God and seek his forgiveness, because what is happening goes beyond human explanation. Imagine an increase of N10, 300 within 30 days on a 50kg bag of rice and no one is saying anything?

An attempt by the operatives to quell the protest and effect the arrest of some of the youths failed as the youth chased away the officers who were coming after them.

Some passersby lamented how they narrowly escaped injuries as the youths continued to chase people away from going about their lawful duties.

The police operatives had to resort to firing teargas in the direction of the rampaging youths to disperse them. But despite the teargas, the youths continued their protest.

The Niger State Command spokesman, Wasiu Abiodun, who reacted to the protest, said the police had to apply minimum force to disperse the protesters.

“I woke up this morning with information that many people protesting blocked Bida road, obstructing motorists and causing people to be unable to go about their work. So we had to deploy there this morning.

“After so much persuasion, they refused to open the road, even the deputy Governor, His Excellency, was there to address them; we had to use minimum force to disperse the protesters, the road was opened, and there is a free flow of traffic now.”

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