As army prepares for operation ‘crocodile smile’, Catholic bishop warns against using soldiers against protesters

By our reporter| The Catholic archbishop of Lagos, Alfred Martins on Saturday asked the federal government not to deploy soldiers to crack down on the youths protesting agaist police brutality across the country.

The EndSars protesters who been on the streets in the last 12 days are demanding an end to police brutality and better governance.

But despite the disbanding of SARS, and acceptance of the five point demands of the protesters by the federal and state government, the protests have continued.

The army who earlier in the week pledged loyalty to President Muhammadu Buhari, and vowed to defend democracy “at all cost”, on Saturday said in a statement, it will commence operation ‘crocodile smile’ it’s annual security operation across the country on Tuesday.

But reacting to the development in a statement, the Catholic archbishop said the deployment of soldiers in protest grounds will lead to injuries and deaths, as well as escalate tension.

He said, “Such a measure, if adopted, can only lead to injuries and possible deaths, and an escalation of the protests. It has the tendency of turning the largely peaceful protests into a violent one.”

“We therefore urge the federal government to toe the line of engagement in dialogue, listening to the demands of the youth and other well-meaning Nigerians.

“We commend the government for acceding to the demands of the youth. Now, the whole country looks forward to practical steps that would be taken to implement them.

“We believe that a sincere and transparent response to the demands of the young people would go a long way in resolving the present impasse.”

He called on those protesting to ensure their activities are done peacefully and to avoid engaging in violence, as “the whole world is watching us to see how we handle this situation.

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