Human Rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), says Nigeria is in perilous times under President Muhammadu Buhari, pointing out that Nigeria’s civil space is dangerously shrinking.
Falana who gave the warning at the 13th Wole Soyinka Centre Media Lecture held in Lagos on Tuesday to mark the 87th birthday anniversary of Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, regretted that while the country is drifting off course, the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is busy chasing shadows.
“How can you be looking for grazing routes in the 21st century, where you have organic beef? It is animal husbandry,” he said.
“Look at Botswana, a small country of barely two million people, but the cattle population there is 2.5 million. That country has a market and everything for animal husbandry, so it’s not rocket science to produce beef and distribute.”
Falana said it was time serious minded people joined politics, as according to him, the politics of NGOs can no longer help the country when criminal minded people are running the parliament.
He pointed out that today’s world has moved beyond oil to a knowledge economy, and that Nigeria cannot afford to continue with people who are fixated on oil.
“Our economy is all about people going to Abuja to share poverty. The money we make from oil, what is it? We make about $30 billion per year. In fact, we made $15 billion last year from oil. The budget of Nigeria last year was $30 billion, the budget of Brazil was $650 billion. Brazil has 214 million people, Nigeria 206 million people.”
Falana encouraged young Nigerians to continue to demand change through peaceful agitation, noting that nobody can stop Nigerians from protesting because it is their right.
Recalling how he went to court in 2003 to defend President Buhari’s right to protest, he noted that it is very painful to see that it’s now under the government of Buhari that people are being manhandled and detained for protesting.
Falana encouraged Nigerian women to play a more active part in politics, noting that Nigeria’s colonial history, recorded stories of women like Funmilayo Ransom-Kuti, who played key roles in the fight against colonial rule.