The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi has offered to lead traditional rulers in Nigeria to mediate between the Federal Government and organizers of the #EndSARS Movement, saying the killings of unarmed young protesters at Lekki toll gate is disheartening and regrettable.
A statement issued by his Media aide, Moses Olafare stated that the monarch said while government decision to protect public facility is necessary but ought not to deploy soldiers to unarmed protesters until grievances have been exhausted.
He said such preemptive strikes can only worsen an already combustible situation while stressing that more patience and dialogue is needed to bring both parties to the table to set timelines for the implementation of the demands of the movement.
“Tension has risen on both sides. It is time to calm down and allow traditional rulers, as fathers of the Nation to lead the way to peace and restoration of trust. We must find amicable solutions even though this Lekki Toll Gate attack, has regrettably eroded the trust needed to establish dialogue and ensure a civic process for resolving the crises. We must not be tired.
“Our political leadership must immediately investigate the circumstances that led to the avoidable confrontation and consequent loss of lives with a view to swiftly fishing out the unlawful attackers who must be made to face the law.
“We need to manage the process of listening to them and working with them to jointly arrive at the new Nigeria of our collective dreams, a dream that President Muhammadu Buhari has recognized as a statesman and our president.
“There is no doubt the exploitation of the protests by criminals attacking prisons, police stations, and public facilities put the government on the edge and might have led to the military option but it is important to separate hoodlums committing these heinous crimes from protesters gathered in a specific location to draw attention to their legitimate demands.
“There is a clear difference between the criminal hoodlums who have begun to hijack the hitherto peaceful protests and the patriotic Nigerian youths who were daily converging at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos and selected locations in other states including Abuja FCT in line with global best practices of protest gathering.
“It is the hoodlums and vagrants perpetrating all manners of criminality discrediting the noble ideology of the peaceful Youths that should be demobilized and arrested.
“The hoodlums were always seen in tattered dresses armed with dangerous weapons, perpetrating all manners of criminality like jailbreak, forceful extortion from motorists, bag snatching, arson, vandalism, maiming, and killings. They were only disguising to be protesters, while the real ideological protesters most of whom are well known human rights activists, corporate Nigerians, very successful private individuals, popular artists, and other celebrities are the ones at the Lekki Toll Gate and other selected spots across the country even at times joined by government officials including governors of respective states.
“The Federal and State governments have in no doubt shown responsibility by accepting the demands of the EndSARS movement. The youths should create a platform to monitor its implementation.
“Our children are on the streets rather than checking out because they believe in the future of Nigeria and that our system is flexible enough to adapt to changes for better performance.
“Their generation was nurtured with the values of efficiency, transparency, accountability, and value chains. These are the noble values they seek to inject into our polity so that our country can realize its potential as a world power,” He added.