By Chukwudi Nweje
Major General Tajudeen Olanrewaju (retd) has condemned the use of brute force against #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate area in Lagos.
According to the former General Officer Commanding (GOC) 3rd Armord Division of the Nigerian Army, Jos, “the excessive force used to destroy these young and vibrant souls was wrong . Those who are responsible must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
The trustee of Omo Eko Pataki, a pan-Lagos group, warned against escalation of unrest, noting that slide into anarchy is not in the interest of anyone.
He, therefore, urged the youths and the government to embrace dialogue.
He further cautioned against ethnic profiling and sowing discord and mistrust in the military. We must withdraw from the brink.
The statement he titled: “We must withdraw from the brink” read:
“I have served this nation diligently, selflessly with the best of patriotic motives since I joined the army as a young cadet 53 years ago. I was one of the first set of five people selected from the newly created Lagos state in 1967.
I served in the civil war with the Artillery Formation with bullets and bombs devastating everywhere. I have seen widows, naked orphans , destitute and sundry displaced people.
Surely, we can’t continue like this. Ethnic profiling is wrong. Our boys in uniform are the most patriotic Nigerians anywhere. I am proud to have put on the Nigerian Army uniform.
We must never divide the military. They need our support. They need our guiding applause.
As a native Lagosian , as an Isaleko indigene and as an Awori offspring, I am absolutely affirmed that Lagos and Nigeria should not dissolve into anarchy.
This country must never be reduced to ethnic Balkanization.
Yes , we need fairness, equity and justice. But I will never support destruction and looting. We must talk. We must embrace at the peace of the round table. Our youths on the streets should stand down and allow peace to reign. Our leadership should also embrace everyone regardless of ethnic origin and demonstrate empathy in the face of these terrible misfortunes.
And like Abraham Lincoln pu it : “Everyman is created equal and endowed with God given rights to actualize himself.”
The tools of power should remember the words of George Santayana that those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.
We must never forget happened to the peaceful protesters in Lekki. The excessive force used to destroy these young and vibrant souls was wrong . Those who are responsible must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. We must withdraw from the brink.’