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Group warns against using soldiers to quell peaceful protests

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Praise Necherem

The board of the Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida Annual Lecture Series has warned against using soldiers to quell peaceful protest.

It also called on the federal government to dialogue with the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.

It maintained that it was crude and antiquated to use brutal force on peaceful protesters, especially youths.

The IBB board, in conjunction with Leadership Orientation and Basic Advocacy Centre, stated this in Awka, Anambra state on Sunday in a lecture.

Delivering a lecture titled: Insecurity in Nigeria; Issues and Challenges, the Convener, Stanley Okafor, a lawyer, said the move had become imperative following increasing spate of insecurity across the country.

Okafor urged government to pursue a process of peace and negotiation with the Indigenous People of Biafra and other ethnic organisations, especially within the scope of herder/host community crisis across the country.

He said, “We suggest that, in order to restore faith in the ability of government to secure Nigerians and guarantee freedom of movement, property and safety of our institutions, government must convoke a panel of statesmen, past heads of state, experts drawn from all walks of life to filter the issues confronting us.

“Government must meet with relevant stakeholders and proffer credible solutions as a way forward.

“We call on government to put pride aside and convoke visitation panels to Rwanda and Ghana to understudy methodologies that assisted the nations to overcome periods of ethnic violence and conflicts.

“The government must make more deliberate efforts to clean its stable of questionable characters and corrupt officials in order to give a new ease of life to the process of public administration.

“In order to avert total anarchy, government must address issues of agitations by our youths with respect and refrain from deploying battle-ready soldiers against these young people.

“The police can deal with issues of youth agitations by proper deployment of riot equipment in deserving situations if they have them, while respecting the legal rights of Nigerians to peaceful and violence free protests.”

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