Some Nigerian youths under the hashtag #March4Nigeria have hailed the Nigerian Army as the heroes of the nation’s democracy in what they describe rising up to the occasion amidst vested interests.
Speaking at a town hall meeting on Saturday in Abuja, respected youth activist, Comrade Adamu Kabir Matazu said Nigeria would have slipped into anarchy resulting from the EndSARS protests if not for the timely intervention of the military.
According to Matazu, Nigerians should “use the events of the past days to reflect deeply on the efforts of the Nigerian Military towards ensuring that Nigeria remains one indivisible and robust entity”.
He, however, apologised to the troops for the scathing attacks and propaganda on its efforts at restoring law and order in parts of the country.
Matazu, therefore, applauded the courage and professionalism displayed by troops, which according to him is ” indicative of its unalloyed commitment to ensuring that those against the interest of Nigeria do not have their way”.
He warned those spreading falsehood against the army to desist from such despicable enterprise in the overall interest of peace and tranquillity in Nigeria.
Read the full statement below:
The recent happenings in Nigeria indeed portend great danger as our dear country went on the brink with the EndSARS protests that were initially peaceful until some elements infiltrated our ranks and hijacked our peaceful protest to their advantage.
It was indeed a sad epoch in our democracy. If we must admit, the Nigerian Military did rise to the occasion in protecting our nascent democracy that was the target of those vested interests that have been prowling and looking for that opportunity to truncate not just democracy in Nigeria, but also our great country.
It is also said that some of us allowed ourselves to be used by those same elements after the government had accepted the five demands we put forward towards bringing to an end police brutality in Nigeria.
In my opinion, there was nothing that was left to be achieved in a situation where we demanded the disbanding of SARS. It was done, we pressed for the unconditional release of those arrested, and it was done, we requested the constitution of a panel of inquiry on police brutality across the country, and they were instituted. The government had put in place the necessary machinery for the implementation of reforms in the Nigerian Police Force.
The question is at what point did we get it wrong? We got it wrong when those vested interests continued to urge us to ignore the government that their promises were empty. We got it wrong when we didn’t question where the funds for logistics were coming from. We also got it wrong when we watched as they gradually crept into our midst and began the burning of police stations, and when they started to attack law enforcement officers, including the military.
My brothers and sisters, we must admit that it was this close to our dear country. We were close to slipping into a state of anarchy, but for the timely intervention of the Nigerian Military. The Nigerian Military indeed rose to the occasion in the restoration of law and order in Nigeria after the city police were entirely overwhelmed by thugs, hoodlums and other criminal elements.
There is documentary evidence to this regard, and we are glad that once again, we can beat our chest that the Nigerian Military has proven to be the bastion of our democracy. They remain the heroes of our democracy.
I tell you this, that but for the timely intervention of the Nigerian Military, this gathering today would not have been possible. I also tell you that, but for the intervention of the Nigerian Military, there would have been dark and thick smoke billowing out of Nigeria because those arsonists, those thugs, those hooligans were well prepared to inflict maximum damage to every social fibre of our great country.
It is, therefore, my candid opinion that we use the events of past days to reflect deeply on the efforts of the Nigerian Military towards ensuring that Nigeria remains one indivisible and robust entity. This much they have proven not just with the recent events, but from time immemorial and especially in the past five years.
We must also understand that for this stance of our Military towards protecting democracy in Nigeria, it has consequently come under series of attacks all in a bid to weaken that resolve to preserve the territorial integrity of Nigeria, as well as our sovereignty.
I am using this medium and this auspicious occasion to tender our unreserved apologies to the Nigerian Military and the Nigerian Army in particular for the scathing attack on its efforts at restoring law and order in parts of the country, for we know that those allegations are well orchestrated by those same vested interests that plotted and executed the chain of violence across the country.
We also know that it was the height of propaganda against their noble efforts. And we all know that their anger is targeted at the Nigerian Army for intervening and saving the day for democracy in Nigeria.
We are by this medium saluting the courage and the professionalism displayed by the Nigerian Military, which is indicative of that unalloyed commitment to ensuring that those against the interest of Nigeria do not have their way.
We are also conversant of the track records of the Nigerian Army in the area of human rights with the establishment of human rights desk at all its units and formations. And it on this premise that we state that the Nigerian Army can never be caught in acts that violate or undermine human rights. This much we are aware of is a no go area for officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army. And it is to their credit that they have been able to sustain very high human rights record through the operational effectiveness of the Directorate of Civil-Military Affairs.
This is indeed worthy of commendation, and that is why we shall not stop at pouring out our hearts in appreciation of the efforts of the Nigerian Army in the past days in saving democracy in Nigeria.
We are also appealing to those that have been spreading falsehood against the Nigerian Army to desist from such despicable enterprise in the overall interest of peace and tranquillity in Nigeria. And those that have been taking advantage of the professional conduct of the Nigerian Army to carry outs acts of violence against the officers and soldiers are advised to retrace their steps and tow the path of honour.
The Nigerian Military remains the heroes of our democracy, and for that, we are eternally grateful.
Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria
Long Live the Nigerian Youths
Long Live the Nigerian Military