OLUSEGUN Obasanjo, a former Nigerian President has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to act on the #ENDSARS protest before it is too late.
“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,” said Obasanjo in a statement Wednesday as his reaction to the killing of protesters Tuesday evening in Lagos State.
Obasanjo appealed to President Buhari and Nigerian citizens to embrace peace and dialogue in resolving the crisis.
“It is with a heavy heart and a 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,” Obasanjo stated.
He urged the incumbent president 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,” Obasanjo said.
He noted that “Instead, such actions only reinforce the anger and frustration of the populace and close the window of dialogue and peaceful resolution.”
According to the former president, the Nigerian President did not exhaust the opportunities for dialogue with the protesters before resorting to the use of force.
“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,” he said.
Obasanjo, who served Nigeria both as a civilian and military president said Buhari must demonstrate meekness, humanity and sincerity in meeting the legitimate demands of the ENDSARS protesters.
“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,” he said.
“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.”