Alfred Adewale Martins, archbishop of Lagos, has called on the federal government not to deploy the Nigerian army to crack down on #EndSARS protesters across the country.
On Wednesday, the army had declared its readiness to support other security agencies in the country to maintain law and order.
However, in a statement on Friday, Martins said if the army is deployed to protest grounds, it will lead to injuries and deaths, as well as escalate tension.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
The protests, which have gone on for close to two weeks, focus on calls for the scrapping of the special anti-robbery squad (SARS) over reports of harassment and brutality.
However, despite the disbanding of SARS, the protests have continued across the country with the youth insisting on total reform of the police.