Police release Aisha Jibrin, other women who led protest in Minna 

The Niger State government has reportedly released the 30-year-old Aisha Jibrin and some other persons arrested by state police command for leading a protest on Monday to lament hunger, hardship and rising inflation in Minna, the state capital.

SaharaReporters on Wednesday reported that the police arrested the protesters who were among hundreds of men, women and youths who on Monday in Minna staged a protest against the hardship under President Bola Tinubu’s government.

The protesters had also lamented the hikes in the prices of gas and fuel in the country.

The Niger State Command Public Relations Officer, DSP Wasiu A. Abiodun, in a statement issued on Wednesday, said the protesters had been arrested for deliberately refusing to clear the road for public use.

The police spokesperson stated that after much persuasion by the police and that even though the Deputy Governor of Niger State, Yakubu Garba, availed himself at the scene and addressed the group, the women chose to be violent.

He claimed that the protesters attacked the police with dangerous weapons such as stones, bottles, sticks, and cutlasses and that they damaged police patrol vehicles and parts of the Kpakungu Division roof.

The arrest generated controversy across the country as many individuals and human rights organisations called for their immediate release.

A group of legal practitioners under the umbrella of NEWWORTH LLP on Wednesday in a press statement signed by its Lead Partner, Ayo Ademiluyi, demanded the release of the protesters within 24 hours.

“We call for messages and calls to demand their release within 24 hours to be made to the Force Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi,” the legal practitioners demanded.

But on Thursday morning, human rights activist and candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC) in the 2019 and 2023 presidential elections, Omoyele Sowore, in a post on X (formerly Twitter) said that the protesters had been released.

He said it was confirmed by Governor Mohammed Bago.

Attaching a picture of three of the protesters, Sowore wrote, “FREE AT LAST: The heroines of the Niger. Three women arrested for organizing hardships and hunger protests in Niger State have been released according to the Niger State Governor Mohammed Umar Bago.

“The @PoliceNG should desist from arresting and or detaining Nigerians protesting for their survival or matters affecting their wellbeing and those of their country men and women.”

However, when contacted twice for confirmation of the release of the protesters, the Niger State Police spokesperson did not confirm their release.

On both occasions, he promised to check and get back to SaharaReporters but had not done so at the time of filing this report.