President Muhammadu Buhari during his nationwide broadcast on Thursday said he is deeply pained by the loss of innocent lives resulting from the #ENDSARS demonstrations held across in the country.
Buhari who remained mum on the Lekki toll gate shooting, said the government shall continue to work hard to ensure that liberty and freedom, as well as the fundamental rights of all citizens, are protected.
“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,” he said.
“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.
He added, “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.”
The president noted that while the choice to demonstrate peacefully is a fundamental right of citizens as enshrined in Section 40 of the Constitution and other enactments, 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
The government, Buhari said, has the obligation to protect lives and properties, as well as the right of citizens to go about their daily businesses freely and protected from acts of violence.
He called on youths to discontinue the street protests and constructively engage the government in finding solutions, listed his achievement and paid tribute to police officers who lost their lives in the line of duty.
The speech has since garnered negative reviews with many Nigerians displeased with the insensitivity and lack of empathy displayed by the federal government.
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