#EndSARS: what Mr. President’s speech really suggests on lekki shooting

Category: Opinion | Posted date: 2020-11-01 18:36:18 | Posted by: Olayinka Olalekan


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Many people concluded that if the 12 minute long speech of the president had no element of empathy in it on the lives and properties that were lost to this unfortunate event, it means the shooting might have been commanded by the Federal government


#EndSARS: what Mr. President’s speech really suggests on lekki shooting

Minutes after President Muhammadu Buhari’s speech in October 22, on the #EndSARS protest and unfortunate invents around it, everybody asked why the president not spoke on Lekki tollgate shooting. But the speech was loud enough for the wise to understand the game.

 

The #EndSARS protest began early of October by Nigerian youths with a strong demand that the government should disband a Nigeria police unit known as SARS, (Special Anti-robbery Squad) which was meant to fight robberies, but turned out to be a killer and robbery squad going after Nigerian especially youths.

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In response to the youth's agitation, the Federal government announced the disbandment of the unit through the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar Adamu on the 12th of October and announced the forming of another unit, SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics Team) to replace defunct SARS. The protesting youths, however, widened the protest as they claimed that the government had not met their key demands. These include that President Mohammadu Buhari must address the protesters, unconditional release of all #EndSARS protesters arrested during the protest, Justice for the deceased and victims of police brutality, setting up panels to investigate police brutality, psychological evaluation of disbanded SARS officers and increase Police Salary and welfare.

 

In the course of the protest, a shocking event happened at Lekki tollgate in Lagos on 20th October 2020 which attracted international interference.  Lekki tollgate had been adjudged as the most peaceful spot of the protest. But many witnesses confirmed that Nigeria soldiers invaded the scene and fired at the peaceful protesters who were holding National flags and singing National Anthem. No fewer than 12 persons lost their dear lives while many reportedly injured according to reports of Amnesty International.

 

This unfortunate event triggered serious unrest nationwide the following day as the hoodlums hijacked the situation. Many private and government facilities were set ablaze including notable media houses. Many police officers were lynched and roasted in fire.

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In all these, Nigerians sounded their voices strong, calling that the president must speak to address the nation. As expected, President Muhammad Buhari gave a national address two weeks after the protest. The president's speech came with a thinly veiled threat that the protesters should call off street demonstrations across the country.

 

In the same vein, Mr. President appealed to protesters to note and make judicious use of the well-thought-out initiatives of his administration designed to make their lives better and more meaningful, " resist the temptation of being used by some subversive elements to cause chaos with the aim of truncating our nascent democracy." He sounded a warning that ‘‘failure to do so will amount to undermining national security, law and order which will not be tolerated under any circumstances.’’

 

Mr. President never forgot to caution the neighbours and international communities to steer clear of the matter they knew nothing about. According to the statement, “To our neighbours in particular, and members of the international community, many of whom have expressed concern about the ongoing development in Nigeria, we thank you and urge you all to seek to know all the facts available before taking a position or rushing to judgment and making hasty pronouncement.”

 

To the surprise of many Nigerians, the speech given by Mr. President was more of a speechless speech greeted with mixed reactions from different quarters. Nigerians wanted to know who invited the soldiers and commanded the Lekki tollgate shooting. Many people concluded that if the 12 minute long speech of the president had no element of empathy in it on the lives and properties that were lost to this unfortunate event, it means the shooting might have been commanded by the Federal government.

 

In the mixed reactions, Nigerians expected that:

  • President should have been more specific about the troubling event at Lekki tollgate, which drew international outrage.

 

  • He would have rather shown empathy, sent condolences to the bereaved, and proffered way forward.

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  • President, as the Commander-in-chief of Armed forces, was expected to clear up issues concerning the military men in uniform who were reported to have fired at unarmed civilians.

 

 

  • President was also expected to show solidarity with the people and keep their hopes alive.

 

 

  • Citizens reacted harshly to the president’s response to the criticism he received from fellow African heads of state and other world leaders when he called on them to seek to know all facts available before taking a position.

 

 

  • Nigerians also added that throughout Mr. President’s five years in office, they have mainly heard from him during national holidays or through interviews granted to foreign media.

 

Nigerians have concluded that Mr. President proffered no possible solutions to the issues that have caused total unrest in the nation. His response to criticism, shunning an event that claimed lives of the citizens, and his refusal to sympathize on the death of the peaceful protesters who didn't die for their country, but were killed by their country has revealed that Nigerians are on their own as many have lost hope in the Buhari led administration.

 

On the final note, may the souls of our brothers and sisters who were killed by their country during the protest rest in peace.

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Olayinka Olalekan Popoola 

olaolayinka56@gmail.com 

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