As the second wave of #EndSARS protest commences in Lagos, Abuja and other parts of the country, President Muhammadu Buhari says his regime will deal decisively with “any act of hooliganism hiding behind peaceful protests.”
He said although his regime believed in the rights of citizens to embark on peaceful protests, such must be done responsibly.
Buhari stated these while virtually declaring open the Chief of Army Staff’s Annual Conference 2020 from the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
At a time when there are reports of possible repeat of the recent #EndSARS protests, Buhari regretted the violence that trailed the last protests.
He said, “Let me also mention the EndSARS protest which was recently hijacked by hoodlums which resulted in loss of lives and property in many situations across the country.
“I want to reiterate our government’s commitment to the rights of citizens to embark on peaceful protests.
“However, this must be done responsibly in accordance with the laws of the land.
“I also want to state that any act of hooliganism hiding behind the peaceful protests, will be highly dealt with decisively to ensure the peace and stability of our nation.
“On this note, I commend the Nigeria Army for their efforts to swiftly restore law and order in many states during the last scale of criminality that ensued in the wake of the EndSARS protests.”
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, later released a statement quoting Buhari as describing 2020 as a very challenging year.
He said the President cited 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 pandemics 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,” Buhari said at the conference themed, ‘Human Capacity Development in Sustaining Professionalism and Responsiveness of the Nigerian Army in the Discharge of its Constitutional Roles.’