Super Eagles midfielder, John Ogu, has called on his national teammates to boycott next month’s 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Sierra Leone in protest against the government’s attitude towards its citizens.
The game will be held November 9 in Nigeria with the reverse fixture in Freetown a week later.
The PUNCH had on Thursday reported that some Eagles stars might stay away from the double-header against Sierra Leone over safety concerns.
There’ve been ongoing mass protests in the last two weeks in the country, with the youths agitating for police reforms, following extortion and extrajudicial killings by the dreaded Special Anti-Robbery Squad unit of the police force.
Several lives have been lost in the protests, and Ogu, 32, believes the boycott will “make a statement” for the lives that have been lost during the protests across several parts of the country.
Ogu told BBC World Football, “What is the point in representing the country if this is what the politicians, the people we’re representing, can do to us?
“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 should stop. We want the SARS to stop, and we want the killings to stop, we want fair laws, we want job opportunities. It’s just crazy.
“I believe most of my colleagues understand where I am coming from. I wish we could do this. Games are coming up, and if we boycott these games, I’m sure they will know we’ve made a statement.
“I haven’t spoken to any of my teammates about this. They feel for the people here, their loved ones, those that have died. I’m sure the players are aware.”
“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 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?”
“In Lagos, it’s brutal now; burning banks, cars, police stations. It’s dangerous to go out. The country is in shambles.