The governor of Niger state, Sani Bello, endured a bad day on Thursday, but if the people of his state have their way it would be worse for him in 2019.
During a visit to the Bidda Old Market (Etsu-Musa market) on Thursday, Bello was greeted with chants of “Sau Daya” (one tenure) by angry citizens disappointed in his almost three-year leadership of the state and promising to ensure his defeat at the polls next year.
His visit to the market was to condole with traders who lost their stalls and wares when a fire gutted more than 600 shops. Afterwards, he said the sum of N20 million has been set aside to reconstruct the market.
But the people were more interested in expressing their anger.
As his convoy made its way, a large crowd chanted “Sau Daya” in unison, raising one figure in an unmistakable statement to the governor.
Security operatives attached to the governor then opened fire on the protesters as it became difficult for the motorcade to meander through the increasing number of human beings who poured into the street. As the shots were fired, the protesters fled, and so far there has been no reported deaths from the incident.
The governor’s head in the sand
Despite the unmistakable message being passed and the clarity of the intended recipient, the governor’s office said in a statement that it is unclear whether the protest was directed at the governor.
The Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Jibrin Ndace, said: “The Governor was accompanied by a federal lawmaker, Senator Mustapha Sani; Speaker, Niger State House of Assembly, Ahmed Marafa; Chief of Staff, Mikail Al-Amin Bmitosahi; Head of Service, Sule Yabagi, Commissioners, Special Advisers, Director Generals, women leaders, APC stakeholders and other government officials.
“After visiting the market, the governor was at Etsun Nupe’s palace where he announced the donation of N20 million to the victims of the fire outbreak that engulfed the Etsu Musa Market in Bida.
“So, if there was threat of any nature to the governor, he would have left Bidda immediately.”
Watch video clip below of the protest and see what happens when security agents fired shots: