Says deployment of soldiers against protesters wrong
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has condemned the deployment of soldiers to quell protests at the Lekki toll-gate in Lagos.
Obasanjo, in a statement titled: “Statement on violence against protesters in Nigeria: An appeal for calm”, lamented that President Muhammadu Buhari didn’t exhaust all avenues before deploying soldiers.
The former President called on Buhari to “restrain the military and other security agencies from using brute force as a way of ending the crisis.”
He said history had shown that killing protesters only worsens the crisis and makes dialogue impossible.
According to him: “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.”
Obasanjo said it was worse despite overwhelming evidence, the authorities were still denying ever killing protesters and called on the President to take swift actions before things spiral 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”, he stated
He said most of the demands made by #EndSARS protesters were not unrealistic, adding that these demands could be implemented without anyone’s political interest or ambition being threatened.
The former President also called on the youths to give peace a chance, adding that the destruction and looting must stop.
He said targeting people would only widen the existing divisions in the country.