Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has condemned the use of brute force to quell protests at the Lekki tollgate. He added that it was obvious that the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), and his lieutenants didn’t exhaust all avenues before deploying soldiers.
Obasanjo said this in a statement titled, ‘Statement on Violence Against Protesters In Nigeria: An Appeal for Calm’.
The former President called on Buhari to “restrain the military and other security agencies from using brute force as a way of ending the crisis.”
He said history had shown that killing protesters only worsens the crisis and makes dialogue impossible.
The former President 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.”
Obasanjo said it was worse that despite overwhelming evidence, the authorities were still denying ever killing protesters.
He therefore called on the President to take swift action before things spiral out of control.
The former President stated, “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.”