Super Eagles’ John Ogu wants Nigeria football team to Boycott matches over the killing of protesters

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Super Eagles of Nigeria out of favor midfielder John Ogu wants the players of the national football team to boycott subsequent matches in protest against the killing of protesters in the country.

The world was stunned when the news broke that the government of Nigeria ordered the country’s army to shoot at protesters gathered at Lekki toll gate in Lagos, Nigeria. Though the military denied the operation, videos surfaced on social media showing when operatives of the military were carrying out the attack.

The next day, the Governor of Lagos state, Babajide Sanwo-Olu claimed that no life was lost in the attack. While Rights group, Amnesty International, claimed that 12 people died in the attack. However, unofficial sources claimed that at least 70 people were killed at the scene of the incident and in other parts of Lagos state between 20 to 21 of October.

Besides the lives that were lost, many public and private property were destroyed by unidentified hoodlums especially after some End Sars protesters were killed by Nigeria Army at Lekki Tollgate.

Hence, John Ogu stressed that there would not be any point for the Super Eagles players to represent the country after the government ordered the army to kill people it was voted to govern and protect.

“What is the point in representing the country if this is what the politicians, the people we’re representing, can do to us?” John Ogu told the World Football show on BBC World Service radio.

“I feel like this is the best thing to do right now until they get back to their senses and listen to us.

“We want a good government, the police brutality to stop, we want the Sars to stop, we want the killings to stop, we want good laws, we want job opportunities. It’s just crazy.

“I believe most of my colleagues understand where I am coming from, I wish we can do this. Games are coming up and if we boycott these games I’m sure they will know we’ve made a statement.

“I haven’t spoken to any of my team-mates about this. They feel for the people here, their loved ones, those that have died. I’m sure the players are aware.”

Super Eagles' John Ogu wants Nigeria football team to Boycott matches over the killing of protesters
John Ogu

The protest which has been on for weeks seek to end police brutality in Nigeria, bad governance, and end the operation of a notorious police unit, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (Sars). So far, the protest has succeeded in the official disbandment of SARS but other demands of the protesters are yet to be met as of the time of publishing this report.

On Thursday night, the president of the country, President Muhammadu Buhari has declared that his government would not tolerate any act that will undermine national security. The statement is perceived as a straight warning against protest which has gone a long way to scare most of the protesters off the streets.

John Ogu who said he has been at the protest ground for a couple of times since he was on a break in Lagos from his Saudi Arabian club Al-Adalah, described how brutal the City has been and how the protest which has been peaceful resulted in the burning of “banks, cars, police stations. It’s dangerous to go out. The country is a shambles”, he added.

“I don’t know [whether there will be a boycott]. I don’t know what is in the heart of the other boys. I’m sure everyone is thinking about this now. We have a match next month. If this thing continues to next month we won’t play.

“How can I go to the national team to represent my country to represent the government and the people when I think of the lost souls of those who have been killed?”

John Ogu last played for the Super Eagles of Nigeria in a friendly match against England in 2018. The 32-year-old midfielder was part of the Super Eagles’ squad to the 2018 FIFA World Cup but wasn’t used until Nigeria crashed out of the competition.

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