Wednesday, October 21, 2020 / 05:40 PM / By
Olusegun Obasanjo / Header Image Credit: Gist of the day
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.
I particularly appeal 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.
The shooting and murder of unarmed protesters, no matter the level of provocation, has never been effective in supressing 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 use 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.
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 steps in the right direction.
Previous Public Letters from Olusegun Obasanjo
1. #ENDSARS Protests: Speaker, Gbajabiamila Calls For Wholesale Reforms of The Nigeria Police Force - House of Representatives, Tuesday, October 20, 2020
2. Lagos State Police To Enforce 24 Hour Curfew, Proshare Reverts To Remote Access Work - By Ottoabasi Abasiekong for WebTV, Tuesday, October 20, 2020
3. IGP Deploys Anti-Riot Police Nationwide To Protect Lives And Defend Critical Infrastructure - By Nigerian Police, Tuesday, October 20, 2020
4. #EndSARS: Understanding Nigeria's Emerging Active Citizens - OpEd by Abiodun Awosusi
5. #EndSARS: The Generation that said "Enough is Enough" - OpEd by Reuben Abati, Tuesday, October 20 2020
6. Establishment, Composition and Training of Nigeria Police SWAT to Replace the Disbanded SARS - Office of The IGP Friday, October 16 2020
8. SARS and The Youth Revolt - Olusegun Adeniyi, Thisday, October 15, 2020
9. Appeal court declares Police Act 2020 illegal, nullifies constable recruitment - Punch, October 14, 2020
10. A Nigerian internet or social media shutdown? What to know and do - TechCabal, October 14, 2020
11. Presidential Panel on Police Reforms Swings Into Action, Okays 5-Point Demand of Protesters - State House, Proshare, October 13, 2020
13. #EndSARS: Almost a Nigerian Revolution - Reuben Abati, Proshare, October 13, 2020
14. #EndSARS: IGP Orders Immediate Dissolution of FSARS Formation Nationwide - Proshare, October 11, 2020
15. VIDEO: #EndSARS: President Buhari Reaffirms Disbandment of FSARS, Assures Nigerians of Police Reforms - WebTV, October 12, 2020
16. #EndSARS: IGP Orders Immediate Dissolution of FSARS Formation Nationwide - Proshare, October 11, 2020
17. Download PDF: Order and Directives - Restrictions on The Operations of Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad - Proshare, October 11, 2020
18. VIDEO: #EndSARS:The Quest For Reforms And Effective Policing In Nigeria - WebTV, October 10, 2020
19. President Buhari Signs the Nigeria Police Bill 2020 into Law - Proshare, September 17, 2020
21. The Kolade Johnson Killing: #ENDSARS #ReformPoliceNG Group Calls for Signing of Police Reform Bill - Proshare, April 05, 2019
22. VIDEO: Kolade Johnson Killing: #ENDSARS #ReformPoliceNG Group Call for Signing of Police Reform Bill - WebTV, April 05, 2019
23. NBS Publishes 2019 Corruption in Nigeria Survey Report - Proshare, December 06, 2019
24. 134,663 Crime Cases Were Reported in 2017 - NBS - Proshare, June 26, 2018
25. National Corruption Survey: Corruption in Nigeria - Bribery as Experienced by the Population - Proshare, August 16, 2017
30. PDF: Police Affairs / Budgets
33. PHCN, Police Most Corrupt in Nigeria, By ICPC - Proshare, June 29, 2006