As Nigeria’s General Strike enters its second week, there are reports coming in of troops being deployed on the streets of Lagos. It appears little progress was made over the weekend (when the strikes were called off and we all managed to do some grocery shopping). Equally worrying are the reports that President Goodluck Jonathan has ordered the arrest of those believed to be behind the protests.
Firstly, that a politician can order the arrest of anyone speaks volumes about how Nigeria is run. Secondly, arresting those behind a protest is hardly compatible with granting people the right to protest (and they’ve hardly been violent, not by local standards anyway). And finally, when did sending soldiers to break up protests ever have a happy ending, especially in Africa?
I thought over the weekend that these protests would have a day or two left to run until a deal was reached. Back in the office on Wednesday, I thought. But if the leaders have been arrested and troops deployed, this could turn ugly very fast.
Strikes have been called off.
Back to work tomorrow. That’s ugly enough.