Nigeria former president, Goodluck Jonathan has censured the “use of deadly force” on #EndSARS protesters in Lekki toll gate , Lagos State.
In a statement on Thursday, the ex President stated that such actions will only degenerate the situation, calling on all parties to welcome dialogue.
Protests across the country against the now-disbanded police special anti-robbery squad (SARS) precipitated into agitation for improved governance in addition to justice for those that have suffered police brutality.
On Tuesday, operatives of the Nigerian Army opened fire at the young protesters while they assembled on the Lekki tollgate.
Twelve people died in the unfortunate incident and in a related development in Ikeja, according to Amnesty International.
In the statement seen by TheCable, the former president Jonathan said the incident of recent days “has been a difficult time to me as well”.
He emphasized that the mission of building a nation must involve both the old and the young, adding that Nigeria “cannot afford to lose the lives of our youth who we look up to take over leadership and continue our nation’s journey to greatness”.
“As leaders, we must understand that a nation can never win a battle against its own people,” he said.
“Thus, the use of deadly force against citizens only aggravates tense situations rather than assuage it. We must therefore move away from battlegrounds to middle grounds in our individual and national life. This, I believe, epitomises the essence of democracy.
“I condemn any unnecessary loss of life and urge efforts to be stepped up to ensure that there is no such reoccurrence.
“We all must accept that we are all brothers and sisters of one Nigeria, and always act towards each other accordingly.”
The former President who added that “nobody’s interest is worth the blood of any Nigerian citizen,” implored security agencies to guarantee maximum restraint is applied in discharging their constitutional responsibilities of protecting lives and properties.
He then urged the youths to “give peace a chance especially now that different stakeholders have demonstrated the willingness to investigate the various allegations of excessive use of force on citizens and address the culture of impunity by security personnel”.