As the #EndSARS protests continues to rage across the country, the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yoruba land, Iba Gani Adams, has warned the federal government against using the military on the protesters.
Adams in a letter sent to President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday asked him to enter into constructive dialogue with the protesters, saying: “I can’t imagine soldiers being sent to stop the protests. Soldiers are to fight external aggression. We are dealing with peaceful protesters. It is wrong to give the impression that Nigeria is at war with its citizens. We must do everything possible to promote and defend democratic culture.”
The Yoruba leader also urged the protesters to ensure the process is not hijacked by violent and recalcitrant people, adding: “I condemn violence in all forms. I strongly condemn the actions of some security operatives that murdered the protesters.
“The list available to me shows that 20 people have been killed across the country. I also condemn in the most profound manner the killing of any protester or any security official associated with the protests.”
Adams warned that using soldiers to quell protests by civilians have already been declared illegal by a Federal High Court in July 2020, even as he reminded the president that protests have hit many countries this year and none has resorted to using soldiers to suppress the protesters
He berated the incidence of violence linked with some protesters in some states, saying: “The protests have been largely peaceful. The resort to violence by a section of the protesters is condemnable. It is uncalled for. Violence seeks vengeance and creates wounds which scars never heal. Violence diminishes critical thinking, undermines democracy and destroys any noble intention of the protesters. It also questions the quality of those behind the protests. On the other hand, adoption of a violent response by the state should never be considered an option.
“I saw clips of the attack on the convoy of the Governor of Osun State, Gboyega Oyetola. This is distasteful, just as I condemn the violent attacks on the convoy of the Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi. It’s unfortunate that the incidence in Osun State led to avoidable deaths”
He said the killings and violence are ill winds for the Southwest and Nigeria, adding that such attacks might by explored by political interests to plunge the South-west region into a state of emergency.
Adams, therefore, urged President Buhari to see the protest as a form of resistance against systemic failure, corruption, economic and political exclusion, and above all, incompetence at all levels.
He called on the president to initiate the process for the transformation of the police to an organ driven by public interest.