The Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Gani Adams, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari not to use soldiers to forcefully stop the #EndSARS protests that had gripped more than 20 states in Nigeria.
On Saturday, the Nigerian Army announced plans to kick off ‘Operation Crocodile Smile’ amid the ongoing protests.
In a letter to President Buhari on Sunday, Adams said he could not imagine soldiers being sent to stop street protests, adding that the military was programmed to fight external aggression and not peaceful demonstators.
He added that using soldiers to quell protests by civilians had already been declared illegal by a Federal High Court in July 2020.
Adams said, “I can’t imagine soldiers being sent to stop 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 to promote and defend democratic culture.
“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 20 people have been killed across the country. I also condemn in the most profound manner the killing of any protester or the killing of any security official associated with the protests.
“The protests have been largely peaceful. The resort to violence by a section of the protesters is condemnable. It is uncalled for. Violence seeks veangace 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, His Excellency, Gboyega Oyetola. This is detasteful. In the same way 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 led to avoidable deaths.
“The police should not just be reformed, it should be transformed. This is the time for you to work with the National Assembly to establish state and community policing system in line with the fundamental principles of federalism. You have a golden opportunity to do this. Go ahead and take the bull by the horn and save Nigeria from the potential of horrendous evil of a garrison state.”