‘President Buhari Owes Young People Another Speech’

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Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari

Several views and opinions have trailed President Muhammadu Buhari’s national broadcast delivered on Thursday, in which he addressed the violence that broke out following the gruesome killings at the Lekki Toll Gate on Tuesday, and not a few opine that his speech left a lot to be desired.

One of the opinions expressed is the hope that the president’s speech is ‘a preamble to a more comprehensive speech that he needs to make, to address issues raised during the protests.’

These were the words of one of the guests on a Channels Television program, Politics Today, Mr. Innocent Chukwuma, Director, West Africa Ford Foundation.

Reacting to questions bordering on the recent rampage by hoodlums that led to the destruction of lives and property in Lagos, especially with regards to the High Court of Appeal, and other security establishments, he said the violent act comes from a total loss of confidence in the formal justice sysandtem to bring justice to ordinary people.

According to data that he his colleagues had gathered over time, four out of five Nigerians have lost confidence in the justice system because of such factors as cost, access, delay and dehumanization, painting a dismal picture of the system, that citizens would rather not have anything to do with them. This is something we have to deal with as a nation if we are to redress the injustices in Nigeria.

Analyzing the president’s speech, Mr. Chukwuma said Buhari lost a historic opportunity to, among other things, show empathy to the families of those who are bereaved, and who are reeling from the pain that has been unleashed to them.

More importantly, he failed to coordinate and connect with the young people who were desirous to hear him empathize with them, as well as give assurances of instigating an investigation.

The president also failed in his capacity to speak sternly about the carnage, which is what a responsive government should have done. To the extent that he failed the Youth in this way, he owes them another speech in which issues raised during the protest are adequately addressed.

On the way towards healing, Mr. Chukwuma opined that every Nigerian is entitled to knowledge about what happened at the Lekki Toll Gate. ‘The government owes us an independent inquiry about what happened, with a view to fishing out the perpetrators and bringing them to justice.’

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