Friday, 23 October 2020 06:12

[OPINION] The Lacunae in the President’s Speech. - Femi Falana

The presidential speech contained some avoidable lacunae. For instance, the President accused the international community of jumping into hasty conclusions with respect to the Lekki shootings. My worry is that the President would be embarrassed at the end of legal inquiry into the military invasion of the Lekki Toll Gate as the number of the unarmed protesters that were mowed down and  the circumstances of the barbaric attack by the soldiers from a particular military barrack in Victoria Island would be exposed.

It was good that the President consoled the families of the police personnel who unfortunately lost their lives in the course of duty. Similar presidential condolences ought to have been extended to the families of the unarmed protesters who were brutally murdered in Ogbomoso, Ibadan, Benin, Lagos etc. I want to believe that the President was not informed that unarmed protesters were slain in the premeditated attacks by police and military personnel.

However, the President reiterated the point that the voice of the protesters had been heard loud and clear and that the Federal Government is committed to addressing the outstanding demands. Specifically, the President announced that the emoluments of police officers would be reviewed upwards. That is a concession of one of the key demands of the protesters.

Convinced that the cause of  protesters is just and that they mean well for the country the President said that the Federal Government would be prepared to enter  into constructive dialogue with them.As usual, hoodlums and hooligans and their alleged politically motivated sponsors were blamed for the orgy of violence that has enveloped the nation.  I believe that the President ought to have accepted that the Federal Government did not respond promptly to the demands of the protesters.  If that had been done  violence would not have broken out. In any case  the police failed to protect the protesters as required by law. With respect to the ubiquitous hoodlums the Federal, state and local governments have a duty to address the crisis of youth unemployment in a practical and meaningful way.

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