President Muhammadu Buhari has lamented the loss of lives and properties suffered in different parts of the country as hoodlums hijacked the #EndSARS protests against police brutality and extrajudicial killings.
Buhari, in a live broadcast on Thursday evening, warned the miscreants who have taken advantage of the situation to loot and destroy public and private assets to desist from such acts.
The President also expressed sadness that innocent lives have been lost, saying, “these tragedies are uncalled for and unnecessary.”
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.”
However, in his broadcast tonight, the President was silent on Tuesday attack at the Lekki toll gate where eyewitnesses said soldiers opened fire on #EndSARS protesters around 7pm.
Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, while on a visit to the injured youths on Tuesday night, had said about 30 of the young protesters were receiving treatment in various hospitals around the Lekki area.
Eyewitnesses also said about seven persons died in the attack.
Sanwo-Olu had said he did not order the deployment of uniformed men to the protest ground.
Nigerians expected the President, in his capacity as Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federation, to answer pertinent questions about events that culminated into the deployment of troops on unarmed youths but Buhari was mum on the matter.
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.
“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.”
The Lekki Tuesday incident has been condemned by both local and international civil rights groups and personalities.