By Franca Joseph (AGENDAWATCHDOG) – One of Nigeria’s frontline peace building organizations, Conflict Prevention and Peace Building Initiative (CPPBI) has warned the federal government against deploying the military to quell ongoing nationwide demonstrations against police brutality and calls for its reformation, as such a strategy could be counter-productive.
The apex peace builder gave this warning via a statement by its Founder and Executive Director, Comrade Jude Obuseh, in reaction to suggestions in some quarters that the military might soon be moved in to forcefully disperse #EndSARS protesters across the country.
According to Obuseh, the federal government would be undoing the appreciable efforts it had so far expended towards assuaging the legitimate demands of Nigerians for police reforms and justice for past wrongs by rogue police operatives, by bringing in the military at this stage, a move that might lead to a worst-case scenario.
The ED called on the government to continue with its diplomatic approach to resolving the issues at stake as the use of force in the resolution of conflicts leaves the main issues unattended, leaving room for a possible re-occurrence of tensions between the conflicting parties in the future.
Excepts of the statement read: “Having done an appreciable job so far in responding to the legitimate demands of Nigerians for the reformation of the police force and justice for the victims of the brutality of its operatives, it would be ill-advised for the federal government to move in the military at this stage to quell protests that have been largely peaceful so far, despite pockets of violence in some parts of the country, most of which were not fomented by #EndSARS protesters.
“The use of force as a conflict handling style creates worst-case scenarios most times as the main issues remain unresolved. Government should continue with the non- adversarial approach it has adopted so far, which has won it respect from a large segment of the society and the watching world. Resorting to the use of force will undo all the good work that has been done so far.
“Having acceded to most of the demands of the protesters, government should be seen to be implementing them. Once this is done, the protests will gradually fade out.
“The military should only come in for peace keeping duties, and only when there are confirmed cases of violent conduct by protesters that are considered threats to the peace and security of the country, and which the police is incapable of containing.
“Caution is advised at this stage, to avoid a possible escalation of tensions.