President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed support and optimism that judicial panels of enquiry being set up by State Governments will give justice to peaceful protesters and security men who lost their lives, as well as property owners whose assets, vandalised and looted.
He stated this ahead of monday’s commencement of sitting of the judicial panel of enquiry set up by Lagos State Government to investigate allegations relating to the EndSARS protest.
The President, who said he had been avoiding going into a debate about the Lekki Toll Gate incidents until all the facts were established, appealed to Nigerians to maintain peace and brotherhood and observe how perpetrators of murder, arson, stealing, rape, assault and malicious damage to public and private property would be dealt with.
In a statement by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, Mallam Garba Shehu, says Muhammadu Buhari advises that peace, brotherhood, and inter-communal harmony are central to the nation’s character, and urges Nigerians not to turn against one another in hate.
He said while his administration was working hard through numerous pragmatic ways to reduce hardship faced by the unemployed, poor citizens, and victims of economic effects of Covid-19 pandemic, warned that resort to widespread attacks, organized looting and plundering of public and private property in many States were inimical to public good and stand condemned.
The statement warns that a government that has launched a massive crackdown on corruption at home and abroad, and taken strong decisions against those who thought they are above the law, will not fold its arms when an otherwise legitimate and peaceful protest is turning into free-for-all vandalism and looting.
It emphasises that while the administration has, for its part, blocked 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 organised looting and plunder being witnessed in parts of the country.
It advises 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.
It warned that that criminal actions like the ones taking place can weaken and erode the confidence of Nigerians and that of foreign businesses in investing in the economy.
The statement says President Buhari commends 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 and also condemned hate messages and eviction notices to ethnic and religious groups.
It reiterates that the right of all citizens to live and work in any part of the country is a constitutional right and will be defended by the government.