A former Nigeria President Olusegun Obasanjo has heavily condemned the shooting of unarmed #EndSARS protesters, advising that such brutality as displayed by the Nigerian government will only reinforce anger, frustration, and shuts any window for dialogue and peaceful resolution.
Obasanjo in a statement told President Muhammadu Buhari to restrain the country’s military and other security agencies from using brute force as a way of ending the crisis as such a move showed that Buhari and his lieutenants didn’t exhaust all avenues before deploying soldiers.
Past events, according to Obasanjo, have shown that killing protesters only worsens the crisis and makes dialogue impossible.
“The shooting and murder of unarmed protesters, no matter the level of provocation, has never been effective in suppressing public anger and frustration. Instead, such actions only reinforce the anger and frustration of the populace and close the window of dialogue and peaceful resolution.
“It is clear that Mr President and his lieutenants did not exhaust the opportunities for dialogue with the protesters before resorting to the use of force,” the former president said in his statement.
Obasanjo added that “it is worse that there is denial of wrongdoing in spite of overwhelming visual evidence.”
He called on the President to move swiftly before the situation spirals out of control.
“We are at a critical moment in this crisis and the President must act now before it is too late. This time demands leadership and mature leadership at such,” Obasanjo said.
He said most of the demands made by the #EndSARS protesters which had been conveyed to the President by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State were not unrealistic and could be implemented without anyone’s political interest or ambition being threatened.
The former President said, “It is imperative that leaders at all levels, starting with Mr. President, must demonstrate meekness, humanity, and sincerity in meeting the legitimate demands of the protesters and ensuring that justice is served where it must be served. These are the potent ways of ending this crisis now.”
Obasanjo also called on the country’s youths to give peace a chance, adding that the destruction and looting must stop.
“The youth must give peace a chance while making their legitimate demands. They must be mindful of miscreants who will infiltrate their ranks and give the protests a bad name so that trigger-happy forces will kill them.
“The destruction and looting of public and private properties will only hurt all of us and set us back,” he said.
By Abel Ejikeme