The presiding Bishop, Living Faith Church Worldwide, David Oyedepo, has warned against the shooting of youths protesting against police brutality, extrajudicial killings, and extortion in the country.
He explained that the youth have good justifications to protest, adding that killing them during the protest “is a sacrilege.”
He described the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), as the most “gruesome” in the history of the country.
Oyedepo spoke during the second service of the church, monitored by our correspondent, on Sunday.
He said, “Every man has a right, legitimately so, to express his displeasure and pains. Everybody has it.
“I kept quiet for a while because in 2015 I warned this nation, vehemently, consistently…because I saw the dangers ahead and you can tell.
“The most gruesome season in the life of this nation is in the last five years, where lives have no value, wanton killings here and there.
“Now, they have faced the youths; and because they don’t know who is next, they have a right to say enough is enough.
“Any system that has no value for human lives is irrelevant. If they were killed when they were youths, will they be here today?
“Now, it will be a sacrilege to shoot the protesters who are not looting, who are not ravaging.”
However, a former Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has urged the protesting youths to be peaceful.
While she commended the youths for being courageous, Okonjo-Iweala advised them to be united.
She gave the advice in a tweet on Sunday.
“I applaud the resourcefulness and courage of Nigerian youth in the #EndSARS. Powerful to let your voices be heard peacefully. Let’s join hands for a positive outcome through a One Nigeria approach,” she tweeted.
Meanwhile, the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Ignatius Kaigama, on Sunday, described the widespread youth protests as a symptom of buried grievances and time bombs planted over decades by bad leadership.
While calling on the youths to “pursue justice in the most peaceful way,” Kaigama told Nigerian leaders to “listen to the voice of our young people, harden not your hearts.”
The cleric made the call in his homily delivered on Sunday during the World Mission Sunday at St. Gabriel Chaplaincy, Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria with the theme, ‘Here am I, send me.’
Don’t read partisan meaning to protest, Lukeman tells APC
The Director-General of the Progressives Governors Forum, Dr Salihu Lukeman, has enjoined the All Progressives Congress-led administration to resist the temptation of reading partisan meanings into the genuine agitations by Nigerian youths for improvement in governance across the land.
The PGF is the umbrella body of all governors elected on the platform of the APC.
Lukeman described the ongoing nationwide largely peaceful protests as an opportunity for the APC-led administration to improve upon its social intervention initiatives as part efforts to douse tension while taking practical steps to meet the demands of Nigerian youths.
This was contained in a statement titled: ‘#EndSARS Protest and Need for Radical Politics in Nigeria’, which he signed and made available to newsmen in Abuja, on Sunday.
He said “The APC must resist the lazy approach to present the protest as being influenced by political opponents. Even if political opponents are to take advantage, it will be on account of our failings as a party.”
Similarly, the National Chairman of the African Democratic Congress, Chief Ralph Nwosu, has urged the Buhari regime to quickly address concerns of Nigerians, especially youths, who are currently on the streets protesting to avoid a descent into chaos.
Nwosu said the #EndSARS movement was simply a call by Nigerian youths for an end not only to police brutality but also to impunity, looting and vote buying, among other ills bedeviling the nation.
The party’s position was contained in a statement titled, ‘#EndSARS: Nigerian youths calling for an end to impunity, looting, vote buying – Nwosu, ADC Chairman’, in Abuja, on Sunday.
Also, a progressive movement in Akwa Ibom State, the Oron National Forum, has said that the #EndSARS protests are an indication that Nigerians were dissatisfied with the Buhari regime.
The group, in a statement on Sunday by it National President, Ita Ante, and National Secretary, Etifit Nkereuwem, condemned the nonchalant attitude of the Federal Government towards the protesters, which has resulted to loss of lives and properties.
Discuss with protesters, Gani Adams tells Buhari
The Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland, Chief Gani Adams, has advised the President to urgently enter into constructive dialogue with #EndSARS protesters.
Adams, in a statement by his Media Assistant, Mr Kehinde Aderemi, made this appeal in a letter to the President on Sunday.
According to him, the President must not use soldiers to forcefully stop the #EndSARS protests rocking more than 20 states.
He stated, “I can’t imagine soldiers being sent to stop protests.
“Soldiers are trained to fight external aggression and we are dealing with peaceful protesters.
“It is wrong to give the impression that Nigeria is at war with her citizens.”