President Muhammadu Buhari has issued a statement on the shooting of #ENDSARS protesters in Lekki, Lagos by men in army uniform.
Mr Buhari, who had refused to mention the matter in his widely-criticized speech to the nation on the #END SARS protest, said that his administration would ensure justice for “peaceful protesters who lost their lives.”
Garba Shehu, the president’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, said that the president had initially decided not to discuss the incident until he had access to all the facts.
The statement read: “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 Muhammadu Buhari 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.
“President Buhari reiterated his appeal for calm, brotherhood and communal harmony, telling Nigerians not to turn on each other in hate as according to him, peace, brotherhood, and inter-communal harmony are central to the nation’s ethos.
“He said it is important that the police and other security agencies move everywhere to restore calm and normalcy as quickly as possible.
“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 in a war against corruption, it is the expectation that all civil authorities, community and religious leaders in the country must rise against the organized looting and plunder we are witnessing in parts of the country.”
The president asked Nigerians to take the moral high ground andreject items looted and brought home by their children.
The president said: “Families must turn back children who bring home unaccounted goods, in the same way wives must ask their husbands to return looted items brought home.
“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.”