The President of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday, 25th October, has expressed assurance that all peaceful protesters who lost their lives during the #EndSARS protests will get justice.
This, the President declared when he explained why he has so far decided not to make any categorical statement on the Lekki toll gate incident.
Buhari in a statement on Sunday by Garba Shehu, his senior special assistant on media and publicity noted that he has refrained from making comments on the Lekki toll gate incident because he was still awaiting concrete facts about what transpired.
He however expressed confidence that the panel of inquiry set up by Lagos State will assist in clarifying the circumstances and get justice for all those affected not just by the Lekki toll gate incident but the #EndSARS protest in general as well as all other cases of police brutality.
In the meantime, the President appealed for patience and calm from Nigerians, noting that his administration has taken note of the people’s concerns and will respond accordingly.
The statement reads: “As the Judicial panel of inquiry set up by the Lagos State Government, one of the more dozen states to do so, starts sitting on Monday, President @MBuhari has expressed his full support and optimism that it will assist the nation to give justice to peaceful protesters who lost their lives, security men who were murdered and property owners whose assets were vandalized and looted.
The President, who said he had all along avoided going into a debate about the Lekki Toll Gate incidents until all the facts are established, appealed to the people all over the country to maintain peace and brotherhood as the machinery of the government and the wheel of justice turn against the perpetrators of murder, arson, stealing, rape, assault and malicious damage to public and private property.
The President advises that peace, brotherhood, and inter communal harmony are central to our ethos and urges Nigerians “not to turn against one another in hate.”
He said it is important that the police and other security agencies move everywhere to restore calm and normalcy as quickly as possible.
President Buhari said while his administration is working hard through many pragmatic ways to reduce the hardship of the millions of our unemployed, poor citizens and those whose lives have been thrown into disarray by the harsh economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic he warned that resort to widespread attacks and the organized looting and plundering of public and private property in many states are inimical to public good and stand condemned.
A government that has launched a massive crackdown on corruption, brought in strong laws for a decisive battle against corruption, pursues loot recovery at home and abroad,and taken strong decisions against those who thought they were above the law, will not fold its arms when an otherwise legitimate and peaceful protest is turning into free-for-all vandalism and looting.
While the administration has, for its part, blocked so many means of looting public money, it is the expectation that all civil authorities, community & religious leaders in the country must rise against the organized looting & plunder we are witnessing in parts of the country.
What is more, is that criminal actions as we have so far witnessed can weaken and erode the confidence of our people and that of foreign businesses in investing in the economy.
Looting and vandalism will hurt trade and investment growth in our country, both large and small industries, as well as our hardworking people in the informal sectors of the economy.
These incidents do not reflect well on any society. They are wrong and condemnable and should not be supported by reasonable members of the society.
In line with this, President Buhari commends the decision of the Lagos State Ministry of Justice to prosecute 229 suspects arrested by the police for allegedly using the #EndSARS protest to destroy and loot public and private property.
As mentioned in two successive statements on the issues, the President and his administration have taken note of the grievances of the people. “We have heard you loud and clear,” he said, and has shown a clear determination to take all necessary measures to address the complaints.
Nevertheless, the violence must stop.
President Buhari also condemned hate messages and eviction notices to ethnic and religious groups asking Nigerians to take pride in the fact that our diverse people have been living with one another in harmony for ages.
The right of all citizens to live and work in any part of the country is a constitutional right and will be defended by the government.”
Meanwhile, the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola has discovered a camera planted at the scene of the Lekki toll gate shooting.
The Minister who made the discovery on Sunday during an assessment visit to the site in the company of other Ministers, State Governors, and newsmen, has handed it over to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State for further forensic analysis and investigation.