The former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has condemned Tuesday shooting and murder of unarmed protesters in Lekki, Lagos State by the army, stating that it was obvious that President Muhammed Buhari and his lieutenants did not exhaust the opportunities for dialogue with the protesters before resulting to use of force
Penpushing reports that, Obasanjo in a letter forwarded to Buhari, titled, ’Statement on Violence Against Protesters in Nigeria: An Appeal for Calm’, said he wrote the statement with a heavy heart and deep sense of concern about the ongoing violence.
The former President pointed out that 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 with a heavy heart and deep sense of concern about the ongoing violence, chaos and unrest in many parts of Nigeria that I make this appeal to the government and people of our dear country, Nigeria , to eschew violence and embrace peace and dialogue in finding solutions to the challenges we face as a country’, he said.
‘I particularly appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari, in capacities as President of Nigeria, Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces, and a parent of youth like the ones who have in the last week come out in peaceful protest against police brutality and for improvement in their lives and their living conditions, to restrain the military and other security agencies from using brute force as a way of ending the crisis’.
‘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’, Obasanjo wrote.
Penpushing further reports that, he said, it was worse that there is denial of wrongdoing in spite of overwhelming visual evidence, noting that, great harm has been done but it can be stopped before it completely spirals out of control.
The former President said, the country is at a critical moment in this crisis and called on President on need to act before it is too late, adding that,this time demands leadership and mature leadership at such.
‘Most of the demands of the protesting youth, which Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State swiftly took to the President, are not unreasonable and can be met without anyone’s political interest or ambition being threatened’.
‘It is imperative that leaders at all levels, starting from 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 most potent ways of ending this crisis now’.
Penpushing also reports that, Obasanjo called on the youths must embrace peace while making their legitimate demands, and be mindful of miscreants who will infiltrate their ranks and give the protests a bad name, for forces to kill them
‘The youth too 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 only so that trigger – happy forces will kill them’.
‘The destruction and looting of public and private properties will hurt all of us and set us back. The targeting of individuals and groups for attacks and reprisal attacks will only further widen our divisions, escalate the crisis and threaten our fragile unity’.
‘This is yet another moment when our nation is on the edge of cliff. Our individual and collective actions now and in the next few days will determine where we will go as a nation. May God help us in taking the right steps in the right direction’, Obasanjo wrote.