#EndSARS: Buhari in nationwide broadcast, laments loss of lives, properties

*** tells protesters ‘Your voice has been heard loud and clear’

*** warns Int’l community against hasty pronouncements

President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday bowed to pressures from several quarters to speak to Nigerians in the face of the raging blood-letting occasioned by the ongoing #EndSARS protests.

In a nationwide broadcast, the president while lamenting the loss of lives and properties suffered on different parts of the country, appealed to the protesters to cease further protest as his administration will not tolerate any attempt to undermine national security.

In a nationwide broadcast, the president who however did not make direct reference to last Tuesday’s shooting of hapless protesters at the Lekki toll gate, said “I am indeed deeply pained that innocent lives have been lost. These tragedies are uncalled for and unnecessary. Certainly, there is no way whatsoever to connect these bad acts to legitimate expression of grievance of the youth of our country.”

He warned the miscreants who have taken advantage of the ongoing protest to loot and destroy public and private assets to desist from such acts.

“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.”

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He, however, paid tributes to cops who paid the supreme price in the last few weeks, saying, “Let me pay tribute to officers of the Nigeria Police Force who have tragically lost their lives in the line of duty.”

He also lamented that “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.

The president also used the opportunity to advise members of the international community against making “hasty” pronouncements on issues relating to #EndSARS protests in the country.

“To our neighbours in particular, and members of the international community, many of whom have expressed concern about the ongoing development in Nigeria, 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.”

While appealing to the youths to stop further protests, the president said failure by the protesters to take advantage of initiatives designed by his regime may result to chaos, noting that undermining national security won’t be tolerated.

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He said, “We 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.

“In the circumstances, I would like to appeal to protesters to note and take advantage of the various well-thought-out initiatives of this administration designed to make their lives better and more meaningful, and resist the temptation of being used by some subversive elements to cause chaos with the aim of truncating our nascent democracy.

“For you to do otherwise, will amount to undermining national security and the law and order situation. Under no circumstances will this be tolerated.

“I therefore call on our youths to discontinue the street protests and constructively engage government in finding solutions. Your voice has been heard loud and clear and we are responding. We will continue to improve good governance and our democratic process, including through sustained engagement.”

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