At least 500 people have been arrested by authorities in Ethiopia’s most populous state, Oromia, ahead of the Irreechaa Festival.
The Irreechaa festival is a thanksgiving holiday of the Oromo people, the country’s largest ethnic group.
Authorities claim those arrested were working to cause disturbances during the festival.
Oromia police commissioner Ararsa Merdasa said on Thursday that in addition to the individuals arrested, a number of firearms, pistols and hand grenades were seized.
The arrests come amid growing concerns about political violence in the country.
The festival will be celebrated on Saturday and Sunday in the capital, Addis Ababa, and across Oromia.
In previous years, tens of thousands of people attended the festival but this year, only a few people will be able to attend as the authorities have put in place restrictions that they say are necessitated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
This year’s festival comes against the backdrop of palpable tension and unrest in Oromia. On June 29, the assassination of popular Oromo singer Hachalu Hundessa triggered a violent eruption, leaving hundreds killed, some by security forces, others by civilian perpetrators, and wide spread property destruction and displacement.
In response, the government detained thousands, including prominent politicians it accuses of involvement in the violence. Security presence in towns in Oromia has been beefed up, and recent civilian protests have been met with a heavy-handed response from the government.
I Know What It Means To Be In Pain And To Lose A Loved One – D’banj
Nigerian Afrobeats star D’banj says he can relate to one being in pain, and when one loses a loved one, hence, he can relate to what Nigerians are going through at the moment in his words, “I know what it means to be in pain, , to lose a child and a loved one,so I know the pain my brothers and sisters are going through and my heart is heavy
“I pray God grants us the healing and restoration we so deeply need in our country and that our lights can once again shine
As a Nigerian youth,I try my best to never give up especially when it seems the hardest, so I urge you to do the same”
Dbanj who is very much instrumental to boosting the popularity of the Nigerian music industry globally says he stands with the Nigerian youth and for the cause which they are fighting for. Considering joining the protest, Dbanj asks for the location of the protest in Abuja.
“I stand in solidarity with the Nigerian youth. I stand for restructuring of the Nation system
On that note,we move, we never give up,till we get to the top of the world!
ABUJA ;pls where is the location for the ?? #ReformtheNation #EndSars”
Mon June 25, 2018 Dbanj lost his only son in a drowning incident, according to local media. His late sonDaniel Oyebanjo III, who had only just turned one in May of that year- 2018, reportedly died in a swimming pool at the singer’s Lagos home.
It’s evident that Dbanj still feels the loss of his son, because till now D’banj has not made a single comment addressing the death directly, he only posted a black background on his Instagram page with the caption: “Trying times but my God is Always and Forever Faithful.”
D’banj, who was 38 years old then, was not in the country when the incident occurred. He was in Los Angeles for the BET Awards, but had to hurriedly fly back to Nigeria to be with his wife, Lineo Kilgrow.
Two months after the incident, the artiste dedicated a song to his wife.
In August, 2019 during an interview in London , D’banj said that he never thought he would ever lose a child and that the sad incident really broke him. During this same interview, the Nigerian superstar singer thanked everyone that supported him and his wife throughout the trying time.
He said, “First, I want to thank everyone out there who has supported us, but the truth is in everything we do we need to give thanks to God and more importantly, I believe there is God that granted me the grace and mercy over my family and my wife to be able to be here today. It’s not something you wish for your worst enemy. To lose a child is not something you think about, and I have never thought about it before.”
He also revealed that he only attended therapy once with his wife but stopped going after it “brought up a lot. “If I told you I thought about it, unlike other things you asked me and I told you I am focused and I go in, this was one that broke me. It was just that it just took the grace of God and a bit of therapy. I think I went for therapy once and I said this no be my style because it was bringing out so many things.”
It was then D’banj announced that he was expecting another son, when asked about how he coped with the difficulty of losing a child. “I am going to be a father in a few months after praying for restoration after the sad incident. And we are expecting a boy,” the singer had revealed.
In September 19, 2019, Lineo Didi Kilgrow gave birth to a bouncing baby boy in United States of America. News of the birth triggered excitement on social media as report of the baby’s arrival filtered online.
The singer, whose real name is Oladapo Daniel Oyebanjo, was one of the frontrunners of the new wave of Nigeria’s popular music style, Afrobeats, and had a global hit in 2012 with his infectious hit “Oliver Twist.”
The award-winning video featured a cameo from Kanye West and has been viewed 53 million times on YouTube.
Federal Government Must Act- Dr Dipo Awojide
Dr Dipo Awojide, a Senior Lecturer in Strategy at Nottingham Business School (UK), the Founder of BTDT Hub and BTDT Home Tutors, a renowned Careers and Personal Development Coach and a Twitter enthusiast has asked the Nigerian government to act and give in to all the demands of young people.
In his words, “This issue is getting out of hands. The police/federal govt need to brief citizens at least every 8-10 hours to demonstrate some seriousness. It’s looking like people won’t give up protesting. No need to bring in the Army. This will most certainly lead to loss of lives. #SWATMUSTEND and the IG of Police must go #SWATMUSTEND #EndSWAT ✊🏾”
In supporting the Nigerian youths, the career and personal development coach said; “One minute you’re calling young Nigerians lazy, and easily distracted for spending so much time watching Big Brother Naija.
Next minute you’re trying to beg them endlessly to stop protesting and leave the streets. Life comes at you very fast. #EndSWAT #SWATMUSTEND”
He has also disclosed that one of the tactics of the Nigerian government is to make the issue they are tackling an ethnic and tribe issue. He warns the protesters not to fall for the ethnic baiting, instead they should focus on the main goal which is to end police brutality.
“Try not to fall for the ethnic baiting. Don’t make this issue about one tribe vs another tribe. FOCUS on the demands. #EndSWAT #SWATMUSTEND ✊🏾. Don’t fall for or be distracted by the divide and conquer plan. Focus on the main goals – #EndSWAT #EndPoliceBrutalityinNigeria ✊🏾✊🏾”
Dr Dipo Awojide has told Nigerian youths what the Nigerian government will most likely accuse them for. He has however advised the protesters to be vigilant and always gather evidences, and they should not forget why they are doing this because justice must be served for those who have lost their lives to this cause.
“If you didn’t know this was going to get to payment of thugs to disrupt those protesting, then, you haven’t been living in Nigeria or paying attention in the last 5 years. Now, the police and government will try to say protesters attacked innocent people in Abuja. #EndSWAT
“You will be accused of violence, attacking innocent people, and destroying government asset and infrastructure. Then, soldiers might be sent out to the streets. Gather your evidences. Pictures, videos. Keep them. #EndSWAT #SWATMUSTEND. Arrest and parade the killers of Jimoh Isiaq. #EndSWAT #SARAMUSTEND ✊🏾”
The lecturer and Twitter enthusiast has also made his intentions clear, he said his goal is the same as everybody’s- To end SARS. He also made it known that he does not want to be on the panelists list.
“I have thought about the past 24 hours and would like to apologise to everyone for my proposed list which didn’t include my humble self.
However noble my intentions, they were misplaced, unrepresentative of our course and has distracted from the goal. This is regretted. My support to our collective goal remains unwavering to #EndSWAT #EndSARSNOW #ENDPOLICEBRUTALITYINNIGERIA. I don’t want to be a saviour on this SARS issue.I have a proper career.
I am not an activist. I am a common lecturer.
I am not seeking to profit from the pains of people or build a career from this.
I created a list to ensure ACTION but left out some people who are now angry.”
They wanted to calm us down. We said no promises. Just go and ACT and mood will change. Is this wrong?”
Genevieve Nnaji’s Open Letter To President Buhari
With the ongoing protest in Nigeria, award winning actress, director and producer -Genevieve Nnaji writes an open letter to the president of Nigeria. In this letter, she stated that her 13 year old niece was harassed by the Special Anti-robbery Squad. She also pleaded with the president to command SARS to stand down.
“My niece was harrassed by SARS for carrying a laptop. Her own laptop. She was slapped across the face for simply asking why her laptop was being seized. At only 13, she had to deal with police brutality. Complaints were made and nothing was done. No one is spared and we are all affected.
“Mr. President, this is the current state of your country. The stability of a nation is largely dependent on leadership. And every head of house has one chance to build their legacy. Sir, you’ve had two. What our country is today is a refelction of your leadership. Your legacy. I’m getting weary and tired of being optimistic about change but even then I can’t complain. I am one of the priviledged few but that doesn’t mean that I get to give up now.So I will speak.”
“Mr President, it’s time to lead. I remain saddened by the fact that my country is only an incubator for greatness and not a habitat. The world is clearly moving on. With or without us. What will your legacy be when it’s all said and done ? I aspire for mine to leave a mark and not a scar. I urge you to speak to us because we are not mind reader. Your house is not in order and way far from stable. The police aren’t being empowered, neither are they being protected. Industries such as Entertainment and Technology that are currently boosting our economy and empowering the youth are being frustrated. All under your regime.”
“WE ARE NOT ALL CRIMINALS and shouldn’t be treated as such. If there is an increase in crime, it’s a s a result of the increase in poverty. We honestly do not believe in crime, it’s as a result of the increase in poverty. We honestly do not know the difference between the criminals and the law enforces anymore. While there are clearly good people in the force, the bad ones are overshadowing them. The lack of value for human life in our country is disheartening and heartbreaking.
We would have less criminals if we had more job opportunities. Criminals would be fewer and easier to catch. The police needs to be our friend and not our enemy. We need law enforcement to work with us and not against us. Contrary to what you may believe Mr President, We are not lazy. We are under-utilized.
Leaders will come and go, but we the people will remain. We will survive. We always have. But we won’t forget. Right now, your administration is standing in the way of our survival. If the country is unwilling to be great, the least you can do is let us be great by ourselves.
Mr. President, you are the Commander-In-Chief. I plead with you to command your troops to stand down”
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