After public condemnations of his speech, Buhari seeks peace over #endsars shooting
By GFDNews Correspondents
President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday appealed for “peace” as the government struggled to halt looting across the country, triggered by the riots by hoodlums who hijacked the peaceful protest against police brutality aftermath soldiers shooting the unarmed #endsars protesters at Lekki Toll Plaza on Tuesday night.
Public criticism had attended the president nationwide broadcast on Thursday after the shooting of #endsars protesters by men in military uniform, which Amnesty International has put the death toll at 12.
President Buhari declined to make reference to the incident, which angered a number of Nigerians who described the Buhari position as insensitive and lack of empathy by his government to the plight of the youth.
However, in a statement from the presidency, Buhari said he backed a judicial inquiry in Lagos shooting “to give justice to peaceful protesters who lost their lives, security men who were murdered” and those who lost property in days of violence.
He was quoted to have “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,”
His aides have consistently said the president could not have referenced the shooting of the unarmed #endsars protesters until investigations into the shooting and killing of the youth are concluded.
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, the statement stated.
Peaceful demonstrations against police brutality erupted in Nigeria on October 8 and quickly snowballed into one of the biggest challenges to the government, especially the ruling elite in decades.
Chaos spiraled after security forces on Tuesday opened fire on peaceful demonstrators in the Lekki area of Lagos, sparking international outrage and days of rioting in Africa’s biggest city.
Buhari has faced fierce criticism for failing to publicly address Tuesday’s shooting of protesters, in which Amnesty International says the army and police killed 12 people.
The statement on Sunday said the president had “all along avoided going into a debate” over the incident “until all the facts are established.”
The situation has calmed in economic hub Lagos after days of violence that saw official buildings torched, supermarkets looted and vehicles destroyed.
But authorities over the weekend struggled to halt a wave of looting in a number of regions as crowds defied curfew orders to ransack government warehouses.
Many states have imposed 24-hour curfews as some hoodlums and members of the public looted warehouse where some states stock palliatives meant to for distribution during coronavirus lockdowns.
Video footage emerged showing a large number of people looting agricultural supplies in Jos on Sunday a day after thousands had emptied a vast government warehouse. Looting of food supplies was also reported in Taraba and Adamawa states.
Amnesty International says a total of 56 people have died since the demonstrations began less than three weeks ago.
The presidency said 229 suspects accused of looting and destroying property were set to face prosecution in Lagos.
Nigeria is a tinderbox of deep social and economic grievances with around half of the estimated 200 million population living in extreme poverty.
Frustration runs deep among younger generations furious with the country’s graft-riddled leadership over a lack of opportunities.