#EndSARS:Shooting, murder of unarmed protesters, not effective in suppressing public anger —Obasanjo

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Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has appealed to the government and people of Nigeria to eschew violence and embrace peace and dialogue in finding solutions to the challenges “we face as a country”.

In a statement on the ongoing violence, chaos, and unrest in many parts of Nigeria, Obasanjo particularly appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari, in his capacities as President of Nigeria, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, and as 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.

He noted 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 clear that Mr. President and his lieutenants did not exhaust the opportunities for dialogue with the protesters before resorting to using of force. It is worse that there is denial of wrongdoing in spite of overwhelming visual evidence. Great harm has been done but it can be stopped before it completely spirals out of control.

“We are at a critical  moment  in  this  crisis  and  Mr. President must  act now before it is too late.  This time  demands  leadership and  mature leadership at such,” he said.

According to him, 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 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 most potent ways of ending this crisis now.

“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 only 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 a 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 s teps in the right direction,” he added.