By Michael Eboh
Young Progressives Party, YPP, yesterday, condemned the ‘excessive use of force’ by security agencies to quell the peaceful protests organized in Abuja, by members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, also known as the Shi’ites sect.
In a statement in Abuja, National Chairman of the YPP, Comrade Emmanuel Amakiri, disclosed that the practice of applying force during peaceful protests can only lead to more violence as recently witnessed when some soldiers were confirmed to have been injured and members of the Shiites group killed in the process.
According to him, there is nowhere in the world that the use of force had been applied successfully to suppress an ideology, while he noted that the earlier the government wakes up to this reality, the better for us as a nation.
He said, “We implore the Nigerian government to fully embrace its own counsel to the Israeli Government as contained in a statement released on 18th of May, 2018 condemning the killing of 58 Palestinians.
“Part of the statement reads; ‘The Israeli Government must stop such use of excessive force against unarmed civilians, including children, and respect the basic human rights of Palestinians as well as international law.’
“It is hypocritical for the Nigerian government to be so vociferous in condemning the use of excessive force against unarmed civilians in other countries yet responsible for unleashing hell on hers.
“While we acknowledge the fact that it is within the fundamental rights of members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria popularly known as Shiites to protest peacefully, such protests however must be done within the ambits of the law and must not impede on the rights of other citizens.
“We condemn the action of violent confrontation with security agents and the use of stones and other harmful objects to attack same. It is foolhardy to engage in violent confrontation with armed security personnel as the aftermath can only be sorrow.”
He appealed to the Federal Government to engage in peaceful dialogue with leaders of the group in order to reach a common ground in resolving the cause for their unending protests.
Amakiri also stressed that tact and not force should be applied in the handling of protests by aggrieved groups especially the ongoing protests by members of the Shiites group, so as to stem the needless loss of lives.
He, therefore, stated that as a matter of urgency, an independent forensic investigation should be conducted to determine the proximate and remote causes of the several cases of violence that had erupted at different points in Kaduna, and most recently in Abuja, in otherwise peaceful protests.
He insisted that all those found culpable in the crises should be brought to justice so as to redeem the country’s fast fading image before the international community where we have “built a shameful reputation as a nation without value for human lives.”
Amakiri further argued that that historically, the use of force to quell agitations in Nigeria had proven over time not to be the best option, as such approach rather than promote peace had been found to create societal monsters that have come back to haunt us as a nation with very dire consequences.
He said, “Ironically, like people with historical amnesia, we have failed to always remember our past and what has led us as a nation to where we are today in terms of the security challenges we are currently grappling with.
“Sadly, similar situations in time past that could have been better handled have been discovered to be responsible for almost 70 per cent of our major security challenges with about thirty thousand lives estimated to have been lost on account of same when the use of dialogue could have been fully explored.