Thursday, October 22, 2020 8:36 pm
By Niyi Osundare
Dear President Buhari,
It is now two days since members of the Nigerian Army opened fire on youthful protesters at Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos, mowing down twelve of them (according to press reports) and injuring many others. Before this final military ‘solution’, Nigerian youths had embarked on a largely peaceful demonstration against police brutality, much to the admiration and support of the public. Then came that brutal Tuesday night and the impenetrable darkness that covered and enabled the murderous act. As is to be expected, the aftermath of the Lekki Gate massacre has been an outbreak of civil riots and arson in many parts of the country, especially the Southwest. Once again, the country is on fire.
President Buhari, can you see the fire and the smoke from the remote grandeur of Aso Rock? Can you sense the ghosts of the slain, the groans of the wounded, the wails of the bereaved, and the miasma of Nigeria’s shame as it spreads across the world? Mr. President, your silence is so loud that it is bursting the nation’s ears.
Many see your silence as a sign of contempt; others say it is due to lack of concern. You have an urgent, even existential reason to prove them wrong. Tell us: who ordered the Lekki Massacre? Who oversaw its execution? What sanctions are you putting in place for those perpetrators? The Nigerian people are waiting to know. The whole wide world is waiting.
As I said to your predecessor in office at another critical juncture in our nation’s history in 2015, the country you swore to protect and preserve is falling apart under your watch; so Mr. President, say something, do something! The time is NOW.
Professor Niyi Osundare Oct. 22, 2020
-Professor Niyi Osundare, poet, lecturer, and public affairs analyst, sent this open letter from the University of New Orleans, United States, a few minutes before President Muhammadu Buhari’s national broadcast.