The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III, and the President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Samson Ayokunle, on Wednesday, said the problems of human rights abuse and extra-judicial killing of innocent civilians will persist in the country, if the military high command continues to deploy soldiers to quell protests.
The two leading clerics, who spoke at a joint press briefing organised in Abuja, condemned the Tuesday night shooting of #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate Lagos, by operatives in military combat uniform.
Therefore, they urged the military high command to fish out the perpetrators of the dastardly act and sanction them immediately.
Represented by the Executive Secretary of Nigeria Interreligious Council, Fr. Prof. Cornelius Omonokhua, the two religious leaders warned that the current wave of protests around the country could result into anarchy, if not addressed with circumspection.
They said, “We have noticed, with concern, the current wave of protests happening around the country.
“If not addressed with care, such protests as peaceful as they are intended, could be manipulated by unscrupulous elements in the society thus resulting in the breakdown of law and order.
“In the first place, in a democracy, soldiers have no business quelling riots. They have no business shooting in a peaceful protest. The youths have not killed anybody.
“Those who kill and vandalize properties are not protesters. They are simply criminals and should be arrested and brought to justice.
“For the soldier who shot, or the soldiers that did the shooting at the Lekki Toll Gate, the military high command should have a way of calling them to order, and sanctioning them.”
Above all, the Sultan of Sokoto and the CAN President advised President Muhammadu Buhari to speak out and condemn the ugly situation in the strongest terms.
“So, we call on the Government to sway into action and bring a quick and peaceful resolution to the situation on the ground.
“In the same vein, we urge the Nigerian youths to ease down on the protests and give the government time to respond to their demands.
“We also appeal to all Nigerians to remain calm and law abiding.”