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Niger Police Arrest for Protesting High Cost of Living

Police in Niger State have detained 25 individuals, including a 30-year-old woman named Aisha Jibrin, for participating in a demonstration against the increasing cost of living in Minna, the capital. Aisha led the protest with two other women, 57-year-old Fatima Aliyu and 43-year-old Fatima Isyaku, and 22 additional participants were arrested. The demonstration, which was primarily carried out by women and youths, was a response to the severe economic challenges and escalating living expenses in the region.

The protest began when Aisha and a group of women obstructed the Minna-Bida Road at the Kpakungu Roundabout, voicing their grievances against the hardships faced under the administration of Bola Tinubu. The demonstration escalated as more individuals, including men and youths, joined in, effectively halting traffic.

Despite the police's attempt to control the situation by deploying officers to the scene, the protesters resisted, viewing the police as representatives of the government and doubting their effectiveness in addressing their concerns. The situation intensified when the police, claiming to use minimal force to manage the crowd, reported that the protesters became aggressive, employing weapons like stones, bottles, and sticks against the officers and causing damage to police vehicles and property.

In a detailed statement, the Niger State Police highlighted the events of February 5, 2024, noting the significant disruption caused by the protesters, who had mobilized early in the morning. Despite efforts by the police and the Deputy Governor of Niger State, Yakubu Garba, to calm the situation, the protesters remained defiant and resorted to violence.

The police arrested Aisha Jibrin, the two women accompanying her, and 22 others, seizing various items deemed as weapons. During questioning, Aisha claimed ignorance of the legality of her actions and mentioned notifying a local youth leader about the protest plans, which apparently were not communicated to the police.

The individuals arrested are currently under investigation and face charges related to their involvement in the violent protest. The Commissioner of Police has appealed to the public to remain lawful and seek appropriate channels for addressing grievances rather than taking matters into their own hands.

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