By Satish Sekar © Satish Sekar (October 22nd 2020)
Nigeria is on fire. Events there are unprecedented. President Muhammadu Buhari has appealed for ‘understanding and calm.’
It’s far too little and far too late. Even Nero’s fiddling while Rome burned was more proactive than Buhari.
Nigerians will neither forgive nor forget their President’s action – or rather lack of action – to Tuesday’s events.
The Lekki Tollgate, where the protests against police brutality began two weeks ago, was targeted.
CCTV was disabled and under cover of night, brutality far exceeded the worst excesses of the now disbanded and infamous police unit SARS.
On Tuesday friends on Facebook – some were at the protests – say peaceful protesters were shot and killed.
It appears the State’s response to police violence is to punish the demonstrators with more and worse brutality.
Media are covering the rapid escalation of the demonstrations into a full-fledged crisis. Nigeria is at the crossroads. Mainstream media like CNN (https://edition.cnn.com/2020/10/20/africa/nigeria-protests-lekki-tollgate/index.html) and Al-Jazeera are covering the protests, but social media has made the difference.
“They are killing us,” A Nigerian friend said on Facebook. “Our government is killing us.
“Tell the world. Share it. Tell international agencies.”
They had never seen anything like it. The violent protests get the headlines, but worse is happening.
Even holding a Nigerian flag – it’s a crime to shoot a person holding the Nigerian flag is – no protection.
It disgusts friends on my Social media. I asked what we can do to help; They all said the same. Nigerians have asked for our help. They want their plight highlighted and they want international agencies to be told what they are going through.
The duty of The Fitted-In Project is clear.
We cannot remain silent in the face of injustice.
We cannot remain silent while the State kills its own citizens who are demonstrating peacefully.
We cannot remain silent while the President ignores the murder of citizens of his country.
President Buhari has lost any legitimacy he once had.
It breaks his heart. Olusegun (Segun) Odegbami is one of the greatest players Nigeria ever produced.
He was due to take part in an event organised by Empower-Sport Ltd and The Fitted-In Project today to commemorate the birthday of Zambian and African football legend, Godfrey Chitalu.
Yesterday he informed us that he could not participate.
“As you may have observed, there is a massive crisis in my country,” he said.
“It is of a dimension we have never experienced before – lives are being lost and property being damaged.”
Odegbami is trying to develop a strategy to find a solution.
Musonda Chitalu, one of the late Goal King’s daughters, will deliver a statement of solidarity on behalf of her family and father.
Meanwhile, protesters want international agencies informed and the perpetrators of the violence – past and present brought to justice.
That includes Buhari.