Like the lone voice crying in the wilderness, Human rights activist and Nigeria’s former minister of education, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, embarked on a lone protest to Aso Rock, Nigeria’s seat of power on Tuesday to protest the killing of over 100 people in Barkin-Ladi and Riyom in Plateau State by armed Fulani herdsmen.
The former minister was supported by several members of the #BringBackOurGirls coalition, as she walked from the Eagle Square to the first gate of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, where she was stopped by armed security operatives.
The armed operatives numbering about 20 officers of the Nigeria Police, 15 soldiers as well as an unspecified number of DSS operatives blocked Dr. Ezekwesili from gaining access to the villa by blocking the access road with three vehicles.
Asides from blocking access to the villa, the security operatives also attempted to harass newsmen who covered the lone protest over the killings while preventing her from taking her message to the president.
A Television crew with Channels TV had to flee as the security operatives became increasingly hostile towards Journalists present at the scene.
Dr. Ezekwesili was however allowed to read her address at the gate of the Presidential villa after an intervention by a senior operative of the DSS while passersby stared at her; she was also allowed to tie her banner to the gate albeit grudgingly.
Dr. Oby warned the security personnel against removing the banner, noting that she wanted the President to read the inscriptions, which read; “#End the killings; #End the blood flow; Help, Where are the killers?”
In her 18-point demand, the BBOG co-coordinator decried the alleged ambivalence of the President to the killings, saying that he had failed to show empathy for the victims of the bloodshed.
As the lone voice in the wilderness speaking for the helpless across the country, Dr. Ezekwesili asked the President to address the killings across the country and put and to the incessant blood flow of innocent children in Nigeria, calling it an aberration.
Excerpts from her address read;
“Mr President, share the credible strategy and solutions of your administration to the daily killings of Nigerians; reveal the identities of all the perpetrators of all the killings that have happened under your administration in Plateau, Benue, Taraba, Kaduna, Zamfara, Adamawa, Nasarawa, Kogi and other states.”
She further noted that while the President failed to end the incompetence of the security agencies and rewarded their leadership, about 1,196 Nigerians had died in the past five and a half months.
“End your loyalty to your service chiefs and head of security because of their loyalty to your person. It is a breach of the oath you swore to place Nigeria above your personal interest; it is simply an abuse of office,” she stated.
She also accused the president of bias and taking sides by making statements justifying the killings in the country as retaliation for stolen cows.
“Mr President, your bias in handling the killings and abductions of a certain segment of Nigerians is all too obvious and unbecoming of a leader of a diverse nation like Nigeria; all Nigerian lives matter,” Dr. Oby concluded.