Presiding Bishop of Living Faith Church Worldwide, David Oyedepo, has joined the protest for an end to police brutality.
For over one week, Nigerians, particularly youths, have been on the streets across the country to drive home their demand to dissolve the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police Force, accused of brutality and extra-judicial killings.
Despite the dissolution of the notorious unit by the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, the protesters have not ceased their protests.
They are demanding the total reformation of the force and justice for victims of police.
During the protests, at least 10 persons have been killed by police or thugs who have clamped down on protesters. Several have also been injured.
Speaking on Sunday at Canaan land, Living Faith’s headquarters in Ota, Ogun State, Oyedepo said the youths have a legitimate right to express their displeasure and pains without being shot at. He described shooting of protesters as “a sacrilege.”
The cleric said he had been silent over the protest because he had warned Nigerians in 2015 about the “dangers” of a President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration. He described the last five years of the administration as the “most gruesome season in the history of this nation.”
According to Oyedepo, any system that has no value for human lives is irrelevant. He wondered if present government leaders would be where they are today if they had been killed in their youth.
He emphasised that the youths have the right to say “no” and demand reforms.
“We have been having a spate of protests across the nation. Every man has a right, legitimately so, to express their displeasure and pains,” the cleric said.
“I kept quiet for a while because in 2015, I warned this nation vehemently, consistently because I saw the dangers ahead and you can tell. The most gruesome season in the history of this nation is the last 5 years, where lives have no value, wanton killing, here and there.
“Now they have faced the youth, and because they don’t know who is next, they have a right to say ‘enough is enough’.
“Any system that has no value for human lives is irrelevant. If they (Nigerian leaders) were killed when they were youths, will they be where they are today?
“And now, it would be a sacrilege to shoot the protesters who are not looting, who are not ravaging.
“When you push a goat to the wall, then you will know that goats have teeth to bite.
“I’m here to say youths have the right to say, ‘no!’. I wish they said they said it with me when I was shouting in 2015. If they did, they won’t be in this trouble today.”