President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday said his decision not to reference the shooting of #EndSARS protesters in Lekki, during his nationwide address, was to enable him have all the facts of the incident.
The President said this in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.
According to Shebu, the president is in support of the Judicial panel of inquiry set up by some state governments adding that he is optimistic that the panels 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.
According to the statement, the president 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 statement also said the president berated those issuing eviction notices to ethnic and religious groups, adding that the “rights of all citizens to live and work in any part of the country is a constitutional right and will be defended by the government”.
The President, therefore, urged Nigerians to “take pride in the fact that our diverse people have been living with one another in harmony for ages”
The President declared that his administration is working hard through many pragmatic ways to reduce the hardship of the millions of unemployed, poor citizens and those whose lives have been thrown into disarray by the harsh economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He, however, warned that resorting to widespread attacks and organized looting and plundering of public and private property in many states are inimical to the 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 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.
He also urged families to 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
He therefore, commended 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. The violence must stop”