Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has appealed to protesting youths across the country to give peace a chance, as they go about making their legitimate demands.
Obasanjo, in a statement he personally signed, said that he was making the appeal with a heavy heart and a deep sense of concern about the goings on in the country.
The statement, entitled” “Violence Against Protesters in Nigeria: An Appeal for Calm”, was given to newsmen on Wednesday in Abeokuta Obasanjo’s Special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Akinyemi.
He advised President Muhammadu Buhari to restrain the military and other security agencies from using brute force against the protesting youths.
“The shooting and murder of unarmed protesters, no matter the level of provocation, has never been effective in suppressing 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 the president and his lieutenants did not exhaust the opportunities for dialogue with the protesters before resorting to the 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,” he said.
Obasanjo, while conceding that the country was now at a critical moment, called on the president to act now.
The former president, nonetheless, appealed to the youth to give peace a chance, while making their legitimate demands.
He warned them to be mindful of miscreants who wanted to infiltrate their ranks and give the protests a bad name.