Sariyu Akanmu, a 70-year-old woman manhandled by security agents for being part of the RevolutionNow protest organized by Omoyele Sowore, has revealed why she supported the rally.
Sowore has since been arrested and detained by the President Muhammadu Buhari regime and the Department of State Services (DSS) had obtained a court order to keep the activist in detention for at least for 45 days.
Akanmu, an Osogbo-based fufu seller, said she joined the protest because “the suffering in the country is too much".
“I heard the protesters saying Nigerians were suffering. I am a Nigerian and I am suffering. I dropped my fufu tray with someone selling soft drinks (soda) and biscuits nearby and joined the protesters.
"I joined them to express my feelings about the hardship in the country. The suffering in the country is too much,” she told PUNCH in an interview.
Why won’t I stay? If those young boys were not afraid of death and they stayed there, why should I run away? I am old and do not have many years more to live but I wish to enjoy my remaining years on earth,” she added regarding her fearlessness in the face of heavily-armed security agents.
According to her, it was the hope for a better Nigeria and not because of any inducements that she chose to be part of the protest.
“I was not given any money," Akanmu explained further to PUNCH. "They did not buy anything from me. I told you I just saw them. I don’t know anyone of them. I don’t think I can recognize anyone of them if I see them (again).”
However, she lamented the rough treatment she got from the police, saying, “A policewoman dragged me to her side and two other male policemen joined her. One of them hit me with the butt of his gun around my waist, while the others kicked my legs. I fell and I was dragged on the floor."
That manhandling has left her being temporarily incapacitated, she revealed.
"I have been feeling pains all over my body since then. One of my hands is swollen. I can no longer use it to turn fufu. Someone now assists me to turn fufu because I have to work and make money to feed myself. I lost money too. I tied it around my waist. I think it fell when I was being beaten and dragged by the police,” she said.
Bruised but not broken, Akanmu said she would be ready for another round of protests and would not be deterred by police's brutality.
“I will thank her (policewoman) for assaulting me. I will tell her she should be ready to kill me next time there is a protest,” the 70-year-old said.