Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has condemned the shooting of peaceful protesters at the Lekki area of Lagos State on Tuesday night.
The former president noted on Wednesday in a statement, that shooting of unarmed and peaceful protesters was not the way to go, no matter the level of provocation.
Armed soldiers had on Tuesday opened fire on the protesters at the Lekki tollgate in Lagos.
An unspecified number of protesters were killed and a few others injured during the unprovoked attack by soldiers.
In a statement titled: “Statement of Violence Against Protesters in Nigeria: An Appeal for Calm,” the ex-president insisted that President Muhammadu Buhari and his lieutenants didn’t exhaust all avenues before deploying soldiers against the protesters.
He urged Buhari to “restrain the military and other security agencies from using brute force as a way of ending the crisis.”
According to him, history had shown that killing of protesters only worsens the crisis and makes dialogue impossible.
Obasanjo said: “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.”
He also expressed disappointment that despite the overwhelming evidence, the authorities were still denying the killing of the protesters.
He advised the president to take swift action before things spiral out of control.
The ex-president added: “It is worse that there is a 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 the president must act now before it is too late. This time demands leadership and mature leadership at such.”
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