By Richard Odusanya
“When the wicked rule, the people mourn, blood flows in the streets. Blood of the innocents whose futures have been prematurely ended.” There is no other graphic illustration than what we have in Nigeria now.
The situation in Nigeria isn’t different from the Darfur Genocide in Sudan which the then President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir recruited thugs and unleashed terror on its own citizens resulting in war crimes.
Since, the history of Nigeria after the civil war, we have never seen nor record this level of acrimony, death and bloodletting in this country. Under this failed government, Nigeria and Nigerians are more divided has never seen in our history.
Gen Muhammadu Buhari both as a full-blown Despot and a pretentious Democrat is well known for divisiveness, nepotism and druggery.
He deliberately engaged in lawlessness and nepotic tendencies such as lopsided appointments, particularly in the military and paramilitary formations.
The three arms of government currently are headed by elements from the same section and region and other critical appointments plus the headship of the electoral commission.
Gen Muhammadu Buhari has occupied his regime with his kinsmen, townsmen, clansmen and people of his race, sectional and religious backgrounds.
Again, it’s pertinent to reiterate APC Manifesto in 2014 in which they apparently stated what they will deliver to Nigeria when elected into office. “Our focus is on six priority areas: National Security, Good Governance, Human Capital Development.”
Gen Muhammadu Buhari administration promised to protect lives and properties but today in Nigeria, human life is worth nothing. Nigerians aren’t safe in their own country and homes.
Nigerians are in excruciating pain they didn’t bargained for. Insecurity is in high heavens under this current administration. Economy is in shambles.
Unemployment is the order of the day. The youths have become hopeless as there is no enabling environment for them to thrive and police brutality rampant.
The #EndSARS peaceful protest against poor leadership and extrajudicial executions of unarmed civilians started in a very peaceful manner.
The Protesters calling for the disbanding of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigeria Police have been carrying out peaceful demonstrations across the country since October 8.
However, the protests assumed a violent dimension last week when Government sponsored thugs and security forces started attacking and killing unarmed citizens and peaceful protesters in Lagos, Abuja and other parts of the country.
While the government sponsored thugs were unleashing terror, killing and destroying properties of innocent civilians in the federal capital of Abuja, the security forces looks away and instead organised how to kill defenseless people who are protesting peacefully.
It’s a shame to see that one can die for simply exercising his or her freedom of speech in Africa’s largest democracy peacefully.
The Nigerian youths whom are fed up with the system that has first and foremost failed to do its duty to protect them and left them hopeless. A protest that started on a peaceful note is clearly became a case of genocide.
Several persons lost their lives in what was tagged “BLACK TUESDAY” 20th October, 2020. It was a sorrowful moment for our nation which attracted condemnation from world bodies.
The United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, condemned the “Black Tuesday’s” attack on #EndSARS peaceful protesters in Lekki toll gate by soldiers. America’s Secretary of state, European Union, Former president Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden condemned reacted did so likewise.
Ghanaian president in his capacity as ECOWAS president, International Crime Court and other notable personalities also bemoaned the attacked of protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate by men of the Nigerian Army.
Despite global outrage that greeted the attack on EndSARS protesters by security operatives and hoodlums whom perpetrated the onslaught on the peaceful protesters at the instigation of the authorities, Gen Muhammadu Buhari rtd refused to addressed Nigerians for days.
And when he finally made a public speech about the nation’s unrest, the catastrophic failure of his speech left the entire world SPEECHLESS, as it lacked empathy. It’s was no content at all.
The summary of his speech to the Nation even after the outrage and condemnation across the globe is that of denials, threats and self-defense in the face of the glaring evidence.
Gen Muhammadu Buhari tried to link the vibrant colorful youths who are peacefully protesting against poor governance to the vagabond who are sponsored by the state. Instead of rebuilding trust, he gave Nigerians the middle finger with his reaction.
The youths are seeking for the NIGERIAN dream that is driven by ideas, not by deceit or barrel of gun. Is that too much to ask in sane nation? “The address President Buhari could have given” according to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie would have been perfect.
If that was the speech that Gen Muhammadu Buhari read to everyone and it came from a sincere place then we wouldn’t be in this mess in the first place because it would be assumed we have reasonable people at the helm.
Firstly, she acknowledged the Lekki Toll Gate shooting, and condemned it, apologized to the families of the dead and injured, and went further to set up a panel to compensate all involved and to bring the culprits to justice.
But the bitter truth is that, the current government cannot be reasonable either in their actions or what they say. They have demonstrated it time and time again. It’s a fact, you can’t give what you don’t have. All we have is a ticking bomb in our hands.
Former president Olusegun Obasanjo in his reaction to the violence and chaos across the nation, appealing for calm stated “It is clear that Mr President and his lieutenants did not exhaust the opportunities for dialogue with the protesters before resorting to use of force. It is worse that there is denial of wrongdoing in spite of overwhelming visual evidence. Great harm has been done but it can be stopped before it completely spirals out of control.”
Once again, our thoughts goes to the incessant killings by Fulani herdsmen that happened in Benue, Taraba and many other States in 2018 and this current regime showed no empathy or will to resolve the conflict. Instead, Gen Muhammadu Buhari rtd responded with a controversial statement that left a mixed feeling with the populace.
He said, “Those making these allegations against the herdsmen know that herdsmen, as we know them only carry sticks, going about with guns is a new thing and those making the allegations know that conflict between farmers and herders has a long history even before we were born.
“Therefore, it is wrong to say the conflict is between Fulani and Tiv or other tribes, like in Taraba. What of Zamfara, where more people were killed than in Taraba and Benue put together?
The former minister of defence and an elder statesman Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma once spoke about “self defence” at the Taraba State University on Saturday 24th March 2018 when he said, “I ask everyone of you to be alert and defend your country, defend your territory, defend your state. You have nowhere else to go. You have no where else to go.”
And there were people who didn’t concur with his speech believing he was inciting violence and encouraging anarchy. But, he wasn’t wrong after all.
The government knew very well that the protest was a threat and if not stopped early could grow into a bigger movement. So, they started devising measures to disrupt it. This same government that was a beneficiary of protest.
The question on the lips of many of our compatriots and the civilized world is that: how can the military open fire on a day that the parliament called on the president to dialogue with the youths who are peacefully and legitimately protesting?
How was it possible for the security forces to look the other way and abandoned the hot spot and clandestinely shot at peaceful protesters sitting down singing the national anthem and waving the Nigeria flags?
Apparently, Gen Muhammadu Buhari destructive government is trying to set a new world record on the number of dead bodies produced during his administration.
We cannot continue to watch helplessly the death of our fellow countrymen, women and youths and the government shows its lack of conscience and will to protect its people and address their needs.
There must be consequences for the actions of Gen Muhammad Buhari rtd and his bandwagon of insensitive killer squad. The world must rise to stop another dimension that can’t destroy humanity completely.
Conclusively, we salute the indomitable spirit of our compatriots across the globe demanding for a better nation where progress and unity shall abound, including the world leaders who have so far identify with Nigeria situation.
Cry beloved country Nigeria, cry mother Africa.
- Odusanya is the Convener AFRICA CONVENANT RESCUE INITIATIVE (ACRI)