Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has written an eight paragraph letter to President Muhammadu Buhari asking him to address Nigerians on the state of the nation.
Statement by H_E Olusegun Obasanjo on the violence and chaos across Nigeria
STATEMENT ON VIOLENCE AGAINST PROTESTERS IN NIGERIA: AN APPEAL FOR CALM
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 ln-Chicf 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 frustrauon 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 polincal interest or ambition being threatened. It is imperative that leaders at all levels, starting with Mr. President, must demonstrate weakness, 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 crim’s 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 lnll them. The destrucnon and loonng 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.