After two weeks of radio silence, the President of the Federal republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari finally addressed the nation.
While this speech was an opportunity to reassure the peaceful protesters of their safety and justice and also to commiserate with the nation over the massacre that befell innocent lives at Lekki, the president took another route.Instead of empathy and apology, the speech urged protesters to stop marching into the streets or else.
The Nigerian military’s adamant denial of the Lekki Massacre despite bountiful evidence is disturbing to the nation and the citizens hoped that President Buhsri would clear up any misconceptions surrounding the matter. Instead, the president made no mention of the tragedy that occurred on the night of the 20th of October and demanded protesters stopped their activities. He added in his speech;
”For you to do otherwise will amount to undermining national security and the law and order situation. Under no circumstances will this be tolerated.”
This high handed aloofness is reminiscent of past dictatorial military governments whose mandates focused more on public control rather than actual problem solving.
President Buhari’s speech is a slap on the face of the youth who came out in their numbers to cast their votes for him during the past elections.
This does not come as a surprise as, over the years, Nigerians have become used to the scarcity of their president and his reluctance to address the nation on pertinent issues. The implications of this speech are not lost on those participating in the protests.
Civil unrest has plagued different parts of the nation since the night of the massacre. It is with keen eyes that we wait and watch what steps the Nigerian government will be taking next.
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