The Muslim Rights Concern has berated the Nigerian Government for ordering the military to open fire on unarmed protesters in Lagos.
The Muslim group in a statement by its Director, Prof Ishaq Akintola, also appealed to protesters to take time off for the government to work on their demands.
Akintola, who expressed sadness at the attack by soldiers, stated that Nigerians had the right to express themselves, adding that the government must stop the use of live bullets on protesters.
He said, “Nigerian youth have demonstrated the ability to articulate their grievances.
“They showed ingenuity in the coordination of the welfare of fellow protesters thereby lending credence to the ‘not too young to rule’ mantra.
“We appeal for calm on all sides. We call on the security agencies to spare our young ones. Nigeria cannot afford to exterminate its young generation which constitutes about 60% of its population.
“They have shown the potential for leadership. It is the criminals who infiltrated the demonstrators who must be identified.
“The security agencies must separate the wheat from the chaff.
“We also suggest the use of non-lethal tools like water cannons and teargas instead of bullets to disperse demonstrators.”
However, the Islamic group reminded the young protesters that they should step back after making their points to allow the government to actualise their demands.
He noted that the protest had been infiltrated by thugs, who used the opportunity to cause havoc in the country.
Akintola said, “However, we are saddened by the carnage which attended the protests in the last 48 hours. The level of destruction and its geographical locations convince us that it was not the handiwork of the youths who started the demonstrations. There are also strong indications that the attacks on prisons where hardened criminals were set free was not carried out by our young ones. Neither was it part of their plan.
“Fifth columnists have infiltrated the rank and file of the protesters. The Lagos scenario is another cup of tea entirely. We are inclined to believe that the only logical explanation for the carnage in Lagos is the involvement of non-indigenes.
“This is because the targets chosen for attack depicted an inordinate desire for a pound of flesh, especially the attack on the hallowed palace of the Oba of Lagos while that of TVC, The Nation Newspaper office and the house of the mother of Lagos Governor may have been a combination of deliberate misquotation and political motivation. We condemn this wanton destruction.
“This is the time to fall back to be able to assess the level of success.”