PRESS RELEASE AND OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI ON THE #ENDSARS PROTEST
By Daniel Kanu
I would have written this as a private letter to President Muhammadu Buhari but I’m uncertain if and when it will reach you, hence I decided to write it in the media with hopes that you would read and act accordingly sir.
I have been monitoring the events of the past few weeks as it relates to the quest for our great Nigerian Youths effort to preserve the sanctity of lives being wasted by SARS and other groups. As a former youth leader and parent, naturally my sympathy goes to the youths especially the families of the bereaved. As I write this I’m watching videos on social media of our youths dying at Lekki toll gate where they staged a peaceful protect, which is their civic right according to Nigerian constitution.
As events of past weeks unfolded it became apparent that the economic hardship, insecurity, inequity, injustice and poverty have exacerbated the protests. As a former youth leader 22 years ago I raised alarm and warmed the country that if we don’t take care of the youths, they will make the country ungovernable. Some pundits criticized and persecuted me for that prophetic statement, while ignoring my reasons, economic and social indexes that would eventually lead to the deplorable situation that we have found ourselves in today. Since my prophecy 22 years ago that if we don’t take care of the youths they will make the country ungovernable the country has continued to be shaky with the Niger-Delta militants in south south seeking equity, Oodua People’s Congress in south west seeking justice, Indigenous People of Biafra south east seeking justice, Boko Haram in North East seeking retribution for killing of their leader and now a terrorist group. The ENDSARS protesters have now joined in the list of agitators.
I would like to humbly advice the Federal and State governments to tread carefully because we are in a democracy, which is a government of the people for the people and by the people. It is counterproductive and inhumane to turn guns at our unarmed youths, mothers, fathers and children without considering the long term negative implications of such acts both locally and internationally. Yes we want to keep the country united, but it should be done through dialogue, love, justice, fairness and equity rather than at the barrel of a gun. The way we treat our youths is the way they will behave, and obviously we have failed our youths and unborn children. Hence they are protesting and lashing out, saying daddy help us. So as responsible parents let us listen to their cries and solve their problems.
The event of today Tuesday 20th October 2020 or what I would refer to as Black Tuesday because the light was deliberately switched off and security cameras disabled at the protest site before the government forces cleared the protesters in the dark of the night with many innocent unarmed youths killed and wounded. Unfortunately this has further tarnished the image of the Administration.
However, if the government can listen to voice of wisdom it can salvage its reputation before 2023 and beyond. But that of course should start with earnestly apologizing to Nigerians, paying compensation to victims of police, military shootings and opening up the country and government to give all citizens a sense of belonging as Nigerians irrespective of tribe, religion or creed. EQUITY and JUSTICE are the key words and it takes absolutely nothing away from the giver, in fact you are rewarded with resultant increase in productivity, create employment which our youths desperately need and consequently reduce poverty.
I therefore, urge the Federal Government to heed to the demands of the people by convening a genuine National Conference that will address all the issues raised by all parts of the country and fully implement them with a view to keeping a united Nigeria.
For: Nigerian Youths