Nigeria Protests: Football fraternity joins protests against government

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Nigeria Midfielder John Igaho. Image|Courtesy

As Legos shut down flowing flared unrest on Thursday, several people including Nigeria International footballers have joined league with protesters.

The BBC Sports report that the National team midfielder John Ogu is lobbying support from fellow teammates to boycott upcoming matches in solidarity to the protests against government.

The player said the move to boycott would “make a statement” to the government to stop Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS)

Manchester United forward Odion Ighalo earlier in the week called his country's government "a shame to the world".

The weeks long protests in Nigeria, with mostly young people, have been calling for the disbandment of a notorious police unit, SARS.

The country’s defence forces have denied killing demonstrators as President Muhammadu Buhari urge protesters to shun demonstrations and engage the government.

However, according to Human Rights group Amnesty International, the security forces killed at least 12 people in Lagos on Tuesday.

Nigeria is set for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers match in November but Ogus believes that if the country loses its place in the tournament "it would be a price worth paying".

"What is the point in representing the country if this is what the politicians, the people we're representing, can do to us?" said the midfielder

"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. There are games coming up and if we boycott these games I'm sure they will know we've made a statement.

"I haven't really 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."

"In Lagos it's brutal now. Burning banks, cars, police stations. It's dangerous to go out. The country is a shambles.

"I've been in the protests six or seven times. It's always peaceful.

"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?"

The 32-year-old was speaking to the World Football show on BBC World Service radio.

 

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