Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari has warned #EndSARS Protesters against the violent protest.
Mr Buhari made the warning on Monday in Abuja while speaking virtually with the Chief of Army Staff at the Annual Conference 2020.
The President “commends the Nigeriaarmy for restoring law and order”, the move that led to international reactions where the army opened fire on harmless protesters in Lekki, Lagos State.
Buhari warned that “any act of hooliganism hiding behind lawful and peaceful protests” will be dealt with “decisively” to ensure “peace and stability in the country”.
The President deployed soldiers across the country in October to restore law and order during the large-scale protest across the country, which led to destructions of properties and possible hijack.
Reiterating Government’s commitment to the rights of citizens to embark on peaceful protests responsibly and in accordance with the laws of the land, the President recounted that the #ENDSARS protests were sadly hijacked by hooligans to cause wanton damage to lives and property in many cities across the country.
The President described the Year 2020 as a very challenging one, citing the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and its negative impact on almost every aspect of national life.
”Despite this, I am pleased to note that the Army remained resolute in the discharge of its Constitutional roles and in keeping the wealth and welfare of our soldiers a priority.
”The Army’s support of Civil Authorities in the management of the COVID – 19 Pandemic is a case in point.
”Also, the peaceful elections conducted in Edo and Ondo States would not have been achieved without the high level of professionalism displayed by all security agencies, including the Army,” he said at the conference themed “Human Capacity Development in Sustaining Professionalism and Responsiveness of the Nigerian Army in the Discharge of its Constitutional Roles.”
The President praised the army for curtailing the activities of insurgents, armed bandits, kidnappers, cattle rustlers and other violent criminals through ongoing exercises and operations in different parts of the country.
The President’s praise is in contrary to reports across the country on insecurity, which has placed Nigeria in the third place of global terrorism country.
The commendation also contradicts the recent report of over 100 farmers who were kidnapped and beheaded by Boko Haram insurgents in Borno State.
”I have also been briefed about the tremendous successes that have been achieved by troops during the ongoing Operation FIREBALL in the North East,” Mr President said.
”I charge you all to sustain these efforts until the full restoration of peace and security in the nation is achieved,” the President told members of the armed forces at the conference which provides an avenue for the leadership of the Army to re-assess its preparedness and operational readiness in carrying out its Constitutional roles.
The President pays tribute to the fallen men and women in uniform who have paid the ultimate price in the defence and security of Nigeria, commiserating with their families and friends.
”As we pray for the repose of their souls, we must strengthen our collective resolve to address those issues that will make every part of our country a safe and secure place to live and carry out our normal business,” he said.
Africa most populous President assured that his administration will ensure adequate care of families of the fallen heroes.
At the conference, the President launched the Housing scheme for Next of Kin of personnel of the Nigerian Army killed in action.
”It is in line with this that the Army as part of its welfare initiative and in line with the Federal Government’s housing programme is undertaking the Housing Scheme for families and next of kin of troops that were killed in action in the fight against insurgency and other criminalities in the country.
”I believe this initiative will act as a huge morale booster to the troops on the frontlines as well as project the Army in a good light.
”On our part, I assure you that this administration will continue to do all within available resources to provide for your operational and welfare needs,” he said.
President Buhari said he had been briefed that some of the major capabilities procured for the Army will soon be inducted into the various theatres of operations, urging personnel ‘‘to make judicious use of these capabilities, even as we await the arrival of others currently pending shipment to the country.’’