Nigeria: Beset by economic, political woes, Nigerians protest for change

LAGOS – Hundreds of Nigerians marched through the streets of Lagos calling for a change of government on Monday, a rare show of public dissent that reflected mounting anger over an absentee president and a sputtering economy.

Flanked by a heavy police escort, more than 500 demonstrators halted traffic in the commercial capital as a truck blasted out protest songs against the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Buhari has been in Britain since mid-January for unspecified medical checks 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.

“Government of the rich, for the rich, making rules for the poor,” protesters chanted against a backbeat of anthems by Afrobeat superstar Fela Kuti, a fearless critic of Nigeria’s often brutal and corrupt military rule until his death in 1997.

“Unemployed people are hungry and angry,” read one demonstrator’s sign.

Buhari, whose age is officially given as 74, took office in 2015 on pledges to diversify the economy away from oil, fight corruption and end an Islamic insurgency by Boko Haram that broke out in the northeast in 2009.

But critics say he has made little progress, with Nigeria still heavily dependent on exports of crude, the price of which has halved since 2014.

Source: Angola Press News Agency