The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Professor Viola Adaku Onwuliri, was on Wednesday confronted by enraged Nigerian activists in New York, who were prepared to unleash their anger on the minister as a form of protest against the recent fuel subsidy removal, bad governance, and corruption in Nigeria.
The protesters, many of whom were members of the Nigeria Liberty Democratic Forum (NDLF), shut down the town hall meeting for more than an hour. They began their protest by expressing their displeasure at the minister’s lateness to the very event she traveled to New York to attend.
The meeting, which was scheduled to start at 6: 00 p.m., began at 7:30p.m when she arrived.
The protesters demanded that the meeting would not be held because they are tired of hearing the same thing from the Nigerian government and in view of the killing of peaceful protesters during last week’s Occupy Nigeria mass protests. They demanded that the minister go back to Nigeria.
“We’re tired of hearing the same thing from corrupt government officials when police are killing innocent people back home, let her go back to Nigeria where she came from,” said Omoyele Sowore, one of the protesters.
“They come to U.S to waste our resources when people are dying in Nigeria, people are living in poverty, shame on you madam Minister, shame on you!” said Bukola Oreofe, Executive Director of NDLF.
One of the facilitators of the event called for true Nigerians to stop the protesters. But the protesters responded, “True Nigerians are those who do not take nonsense. You guys killed like 20 people last week during a peaceful protest and you think it’s OK to hold a town hall meeting in America, the home of civil rights, no way.”
The protesters continued their chants of solidarity until members of the New York Police Department came and appeased them to leave the venue. The meeting later commenced at about 9:00p.m.