…calls for calm, dialogue
President Muhammadu Buhari has urged youth to end the #ENDSARS protests across Nigeria, stating that the protests have been hijacked and misdirected.
He added that some people misconstrued the promptness with which he acted to accede to the 5-point demand of the youths as a sign of weakness.
He made this known at a nationwide broadcast on Thursday night.
He therefore stated that his administration would not tolerate violence of any form as he appealed to youth to remain calm as all their demands would be met.
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 therefore called on the youths to leave the streets and take advantage of the various programmes of his government to make their lives better.
He added that their voices had been heard loud and clear.
In another vein, he said “As a democratic government, we listened to, and carefully evaluated the five-point demands of the protesters. And, having accepted them, we immediately scrapped SARS, and put measures in place to address the other demands of our youth.
“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.
“The result of this is clear to all observers: 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.”