Former President Goodluck Jonathan has said that the use of deadly force against citizens could only aggravate tensed situations than assuage it.
He also called on Nigerian leaders to understand that “a nation can never win a battle against its own people.”
Jonathan stated this in response to the shooting of unarmed #EndSARS protesters in Lagos State on Tuesday by men in Nigerian Army uniform.
The former leader condemned the incident in a statement on Thursday he entitled “A call for Peace”.
The statement read, “My heart goes out to the families of young Nigerians who have lost their lives in the past days as a result of #EndSARS protests. May God grant them the fortitude they need at this difficult time. It has been a difficult time to me as well.
“Nation-building is a collective task that involves the genuine efforts of all patriotic citizens; old or young. Our country cannot afford to lose the lives of our youth who we look up to take over leadership and continue our nation’s journey to greatness.
“As leaders, we must understand that a nation can never win a battle against its own people.
“Thus, the use of deadly force against citizens only aggravates tense situations rather than assuage it. We must therefore move away from battlegrounds to middle grounds in our individual and national life. This, I believe, epitomises the essence of democracy.
“I condemn any unnecessary loss of life and urge efforts to be stepped up to ensure that there is no such reoccurrence.
“We all must accept that we are all brothers and sisters of one Nigeria, and always act towards each other accordingly.
“Nobody’s interest is worth the blood of any Nigerian citizen.”
Jonathan, therefore, called on security agencies to ensure they carry out their constitutional responsibilities of protecting lives and property with maximum restraints.
He equally appealed to the young protesters to give peace a chance, “especially now that different stakeholders have demonstrated the willingness to investigate the various allegations of excessive use of force on citizens and address the culture of impunity by security personnel”.
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