The Federal Government has been urged to explore peace options as against outright killings in dealing with pro-Biafra protests and the newly formed Niger-Delta militants.
“The armed attacks of protesters, killings and destruction of communities in the name of fishing out enemies of the state is an old-fashioned government response that will only spur public hate against the authorities.”
JODER said the recent killings in Anambra and Delta during the peaceful demonstrations by Igbo self determination groups is against the basic principles of human rights.
The pro-media rights group said that though the security operatives have accused the protesters of attacking its members, there are no convincing evidence that any of the demonstrator was armed. The Federal Government should not repeat the past mistakes of its predecessors.
“Killing of unarmed protesters has never helped any democratic nation to develop. State sponsored violence will only promote public hate and disenchantment against the ruling authorities,” JODER Executive Director, Adewale Adeoye stated.
JODER also condemned the blanket attacks on Ijaw communities in the guise of looking for armed groups that have been attacking pipelines.
In the statement issued on Tuesday, the Journalists for Democratic Rights, (JODER) said the Federal Government should show higher moral grounds by offering the olive branch instead of hoping to kill a wrong or right idea with bullets and armoured tanks.
JODER said killing of protesters demanding for greater autonomy has become a recurrent pattern associated with Nigerian leaders. Half a century after the idea of Biafra was muted, it has refused to go. This is a lesson that violent onslaught against the agitators has not and will not resolve the dilemma.
In the past, these killings have only spurred greater violence. When people realize their peaceful protests are futile, they are more likely to result into armed uprising.
JODER stated “At present we are informed that the ancient Ijaw Gbaramatu community is under siege with children and women being forced to flee their homes. We urge the authorities not to visit the perceived sins of a few on the largely innocent population.”
“The authorities should know that Nigeria is a fragile state, deeply fractured with institutions, including the security outfits strongly divided along ethnic or faith faultlines. The continuous killings of people from a section of the country will never win the hearts of victims and the ethnic groups they represent but will rather sow the seeds of discord that will defeat the objective of the government.”
JODER urged President Mohammadu Buhari to set up a Judicial Panel of Inquiry to deal with the challenges instead of hoping to put an end to the uprising by using greater proportion of violence.