President Muhammadu Buhari finally spoke Thursday evening after the weeks-long ENDSARS protests that exploded into violence across the southwest and south-south.
He admitted the level of loss of lives and properties, public or private, in Lagos and other parts of the country, and blamed it on people’s perception of his government as weak, even after acceding to all the demands of the youth protesting police brutality.
“Sadly the promptness with which we have acted seemed to have been misconstrued as a sign of weakness and twisted by some for their selfish unpatriotic interests,” he said in the national broadcast at 7 pm.
“The result of this is clear to all observers: human lives have been lost; acts of sexual violence have been reported; two major correctional facilities were attacked and convicts freed; public and private properties completely destroyed or vandalised; the sanctity of the Palace of a Peace Maker, the Oba of Lagos has been violated. So-called protesters have invaded an International Airport and in the process disrupted the travel plans of fellow Nigerians and our visitors. All these executed in the name of the ENDSARS protests.”
He also expressed worries about the spreading of deliberate falsehood and misinformation through the social media—that his government is oblivious to the pains and plight of its citizens.
‘It is a ploy to mislead the unwary within and outside Nigeria into unfair judgement and disruptive behaviour.”
He however insisted his government shall continue to ensure that liberty and freedom, as well as the fundamental rights of all citizens are protected.
“But remember that government also has the obligation to protect lives and properties, as well as the right of citizens to go about their daily businesses freely and protected from acts of violence,’ he cautioned.
And to members of international community who have expressed concern, he gave some terse statement
“We thank you and urge you all to seek to know all the facts available before taking a position or rushing to judgment and making hasty pronouncements,” he said.
Ghana has condemn the government’s handling of the incident. Likewise the US, UK, the International Criminal Court—all talking tough and ordering investigation.
He also implored the implacable youth to calm down and come for dialogue instead of sustaining the recklessness going.
For them to do otherwise, the president said, will amount to undermining national security and the law and order situation.
“Under no circumstances will this be tolerated.”
While looting and arson go on Lagos, Oyo, Osun, Ondo, Abia, Delta, and other states in spite of curfew he state’s governors imposed, the ENDSARS protesters promised they would come back after the curfew.
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