Manchester United of England striker, Odion Jude Ighalo has spoken out boldly against reports that soldiers had opened fire against youths during another End SARS protest in Lagos, megasportsarena.com reports.
Soon after reports emerged late Tuesday that armed soldiers had stormed the toll gate along Epe Expressway in Lekki area of Lagos, Ighalo went viral on social media with his condemnation of the alleged use of live ammunition.
The former Super Eagles’ striker was direct and unequivocal in his choice of words, following reports that soldiers opened fire on protesters in Lagos, where youth joined others in various cities across the country demonstrating nationwide every day for nearly two weeks against a police unit called Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
Civil rights groups accused the unit of extortion, harassment, torture and murders, with wild protests and road blocks continuing unabated even after SARS was disbanded by the federal government on October 11.
As the protests persisted, prisoners were set free in Benin City on Monday, a police station was set ablaze in Orile-Iganmu area of Lagos on Tuesday and later same day 12 people were said to have been shot by soldiers in Lekki.
Although the Nigerian Army stated in a Twitter post that soldiers were not at the scene of the shooting, civil society groups are unrelenting in their outspoken condemnations; and Ighalo, who was an unused substitute in their United UEFA Champions League opening group match away to Paris-Saint Germaine of France on Tuesday night, posted a video from the pitch side at Parc des Princes to add his voice to the protests.
A full playback of Ighalo’s words was relayed Wednesday morning during Mega Sports on Star 101.5 FM, Lagos, in which the usually soften spoken attacker went full blast in a no holds-barred condemnation of the developments of Tuesday evening at the Lekki toll plaza.
The former Lyn Oslo of Norway, Watford of England and Changchun Yatai of China striker, who is currently on loan at United from Shanghai Shenhua of China, spilled the beans in a video that was shared to millions of people through team-mate Marcus Rashford and former United star Rio Ferdinand.
Support also came from Ghanaian-born Italian international, Mario Balotelli, who was among those posting a picture of a blood-stained Nigerian flag while ex-Chelsea ace, Michael Essien shared a ‘Pray for Nigeria’ post on his Instagram account, as Ighalo slammed the Nigerian government, tagged the army killers and urged the United Nations as well as leading democracies across the world to intervene.
Ighalo said: “I don’t like talking about politics. I prefer not to get involved in matters of politics, but what happened on Tuesday night in Nigeria has caused me to speak out. The Nigerian government is killing its own people. They sent armed soldiers to shoot at unarmed civilians who are speaking for their rights.
“Armed soldiers shooting innocent unharmed civilians in Nigeria. You guys are a shame to the world for killing your own citizens, sending military to the streets to kill unarmed protesters because they are protesting for their own rights? It’s uncalled for.
“I’m sad and heartbroken and I don’t know where to start from. I’m not the kind of guy who talks about politics – but I can’t keep quiet anymore about what is going on back home in Nigeria. I would say government are a shame to the world – for killing your own citizens, sending military to the streets, to kill protesters because they are protesting for their rights. It’s uncalled for.
“You people will be remembered in history as the first government to send the military to the city to start killing their own citizens. I am ashamed of this government, we are tired of you guys and we can’t take this anymore.
“For years to come, October 20, 2020 will be remembered as the date the Nigerian government became barbaric and started shooting their own people. This cannot happen in the United States, it cannot happen in Britain, but it is happening in my country. They should be ashamed of themselves.
“The United States must look into this, all democratic countries across the world must come out against this. The United Nations must take action against what is happening in my country. I am ashamed of what they are doing. They will keep killing if the world don’t talk about this.”