Prominent Ijaw leader and National Coordinator of the Ijaw Monitoring Group (IMG), Comrade Joseph Evah, has advised the federal government not to use force on pro-Biafran protesters.
Evah made the appeal in Lagos this weekend, noting that the use of force would not only be counter-productive but also escalate the crisis, Daily Sun reports.
He said: ”I implore the Federal Government not to contemplate the use of force against Biafran protesters. The use of force will aggravate the problem.
”I urge President Muhammadu Buhari to adopt dialogue approach. It is within the ambit of the constitutional rights of people to protest and demonstrate.
”What these protesters are doing is not illegal as long as they are not violent or take up arms against the state. But it is better to solve the problem now through dialogue before it worsens. It is better to jaw-jaw than to war-war.”
Expatiating on why he wants the federal government to explore the dialogue option, Evah said: ”The use of force will never work. Force can’t work.
”It is not the solution because history has shown that at the end of the day, it is dialogue that is embraced as tool of resolution in many crises.
”Look at the agitations by the people of Niger-Delta over issues relating to environmental degradation as a result of oil exploration.
”Initially when the Abacha government murdered late Ken Saro- Wiwa, they thought by doing that they would be able to suppress the people, but the reverse was the case as the agitations became more pronounced, and later became violent with the militants taking to the creeks before the later former President Umaru Ya’adua’s administration called for dialogue.
“As for the Boko Haram, it started in a little way, but instead of the government of the day to explore the dialogue option, it failed to do so, and the problem became monstrous.
”Let our leaders be good students of history, they should not listen to bad advisers. The Biafra protesters have some grievances; why not dialogue with their leaders to find a solution to the problem? Federal government should be careful about how the case is handled.”
READ ALSO: 5 Things Igbo Leader Said About Biafra
It will be recalled that pro-Biafra supporters has been carrying out processions in Rivers, Anambra, Enugu, Imo, Abia and Delta states.
Meanwhile, eight persons including a female, involved in pro-Biafra protest that grounded the streets of Port Harcourt were recently arraigned by the police before a Chief Magistrate’s Court in Port Harcourt, Rivers state.
In a related development, the Nigerian army has warned agitators clamouring for the state of Biafra that the long arm of the law will soon catch up with them.
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