President Muhammadu Buhari has warned that his administration would not tolerate violence of any form, he however, acknowledged the genuine concerns and agitations of members of the public regarding the excessive use of force by some members of SARS.
The President gave out the warning in a nationwide speech on Thursday night, warning that the choice to demonstrate peacefully is a fundamental right of citizens as enshrined in Section 40 of our Constitution and other enactments; but this right to protest also imposes on the demonstrators the responsibility to respect the rights of other citizens, and the necessity to operate within the law.
He said: “I must warn those who have hijacked and misdirected the initial, genuine and well – intended protest of some of our youths in parts of the country, against the excesses of some members of the now disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
“The choice to demonstrate peacefully is a fundamental right of citizens as enshrined in Section 40 of our Constitution and other enactments; but this right to protest also imposes on the demonstrators the responsibility to respect the rights of other citizens, and the necessity to operate within the law.”
He said as a democratic government, he listened to, and carefully evaluated the five-point demands of the protesters. And, having accepted them, his administration immediately scrapped SARS, and put measures in place to address the other demands of the youths.
“On approving the termination of SARS, I already made it clear that it was in line with our commitment to the implementation of extensive Police reforms. 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.
President Buhari said the spreading of deliberate falsehood and misinformation through the social media in particular, that his government is oblivious to the pains and plight of its citizens is a ploy to mislead the unwary within and outside Nigeria into unfair judgement and disruptive behaviour.
“On the contrary, both our deeds and words have shown how committed this administration has been to the wellbeing and welfare of citizens, even with the steadily dwindling revenues, and the added responsibilities and restrictions due to the Coronavirus pandemic.”
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