Foremost Nigerian lawyer Femi Falana (SAN) has asked former President Olusegun Obasanjo to apologise to Nigerians over the deployment of the army to some communities under his administration.
Falana said this while commenting on Obasanjo’s call for President Muhammadu Buhari to explore the option of dialogue in treating with the IPOB nad its leader, Nnamdi Kanu.
He lauded the advice given by the former president but also criticised him for not taking the chance to apologise for also having used the military option instead of dialogue.
Pointing to the use of the army to quell dissent in Odi (Bayelsa) and Zaki Biam (Benue) communities, Falana said Obasanjo missed a chance to right the scales.
I don’t see anything wrong in Buhari meeting with Kanu. I would not object to that; if anything, I would encourage it. I would want to meet Kanu myself and talk to people like him; people of his age and ask, ‘What are your worries?
Falana, in a piece titled ‘IPOB Proscription and Hypocrisy of the Ruling Class’ published in The Punch, recalled that the Obasanjo-led administration detained and tried leaders of secessionist movements.
In calling for a dialogue between President Buhari and Kanu, former President Obasanjo ought to have apologised publicly for the military invasions of Odi in Bayelsa state and Zaki Biam in Benue state ordered by him.
The basis of the call should have been explained since President Obasanjo charged Niger Delta militants, leaders of ethnic militias and separatist movements with treason, which led to their prolonged detention in prison custody.
The activist lawyer also faulted former President Goodluck Jonathan for calling for a meeting of the Council of State to resolve the crisis caused by the secessionist group.
For goodness sake, why was such a meeting not called before soldiers were deployed in the Niger Delta to deal with militants? Did President Jonathan call any meeting before deploying soldiers all over the country for the 2015 general elections in defiance of the judgments of the Federal High Court and the Court of Appeal?
Instead of suggesting irrelevant meetings, the root causes of the increasing loss of faith in the corporate existence of Nigeria by unemployed youths and other poverty-stricken people should be urgently addressed by the ruling class.