Nigeria international midfielder, John Ogu has called on his teammates in the Super Eagles to boycott their upcoming African Cup Of Nations games in protest against the Federal government as a reaction to the shootings of unarmed protesters at the Lekki Toll gate on Tuesday night, October 20.
On Tuesday, October 20, security operatives shot at protesters at Lekki toll gate in Lagos, which has generated wide condemnation across the world.
Nigeria will take on Sierra Leone in 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers in November in Benin and Ogu, 32, has called for his teammates not to honour the clash, in solidarity with #endSARS protests happening in the country.
Ogu, who has 26 caps for the Super Eagles, said to the World Football show on BBC World Service radio, “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 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.”
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has tagged the former Super Eagles midfielder, John Ogu, as an unpatriotic fellow, following his call on the team to boycott upcoming AFCON qualifiers in November as a way of driving home the ENDSARS protest against police brutality in the country.
A top official of the NFF told The Guardian on Friday that such call coming from Ogu to other players to boycott of AFCON qualifier was uncalled for.
“Ogu has just demonstrated that he is an unpatriotic Nigerian. How will he feel seeing the flags of other nations by the time hostilities begin for the 2021 AFCON in Cameroon? Every reasonable Nigerian, including the youths is thinking of how the country can move forward, and John Ogu is thinking of how to kill our source of joy (football).
“The youths are protesting against police brutality, and the government is looking for a way to find a solution. A reasonable footballer that loves his country won’t join Ogu in this ‘nonsense’ call for boycott of the AFCON qualifier. He is matured enough to know the importance of football to Nigerians, both young and old.
“If Nigeria is going through some difficult moments, I expect the likes of John Ogu to act like Didier Drogba, who used their national team to end the civil war in Ivory Coast some years ago. He should look back to what Drogba did at the Al-Merrikh Stadium, Sudan, in 2005 during their qualifier for Germany 2006 World Cup. Then, a civil war that began in 2002 had divided Ivory Coast, and Drogba was able to bring ceasefire following his emotional appeal to those fighting for the government and the enemies. Till today, Drogba is a true legend in Cote d’Ivoire. That is what John Ogu should emulate and not a way of luring other patriotic players to boycott the AFCON qualifiers in November. I am sure Ogu is angry that he is no longer relevant in the team. In that case, he should work harder,” the NFF official stated.