Nigerian hip-hop artist Innocent Idibia, better known as TuFace, has abandoned his much-hyped plan to lead a nationwide protest against the Nigerian government. Mr. Idibia had said in several statements that his protest was to draw attention to the widespread suffering and deepening poverty in Nigeria.
The musical artist, whose song, “African Queen,” earned him wide recognition in Africa and beyond, canceled his planned protest late Saturday evening, claiming that his decision was based on security fears that hoodlums might hijack the planned protest.
The musician’s statement echoed the sentiment of Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni and another release from the Nigerian Police headquarters. Mr. Owoseni had drawn criticism a few days ago when he threatened to arrest Mr. Idibia, asserting that police authorities had received intelligence that some hoodlums would seize the protest as an opportunity to unleash mayhem. After much criticism, the police soft-pedaled and offered to provide security personnel to ensure that the protests did not lead to chaos or criminality.
Mr. Idibia had been under tremendous pressure since announcing his plans for a nationwide protest in conjunction with a civil rights and democracy advocacy group called Enough is Enough Nigeria (EiE).
Government officials had accused Mr. Idibia of acting on behalf of corrupt politicians facing prosecution or the prospect of prosecution by the Muhammadu Buhari administration. The musician’s critics cited the car gifts he received from former Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom during Mr. Idibia’s wedding.
Other critics noted that the reported decision of Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State to back the protests and possibly attend, cast doubt on the neutrality and the credibility of the musician’s initiative.
When Saharareporters contacted Yemi Adamolekun of EiE Nigeria, she restated that the protests would go ahead in different cities across Nigeria, especially Lagos and Abuja, regardless of TuFace Idibia's decision to pull out.