President Muhammadu Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari has warned those who hijacked and misdirected the genuine and well-intended protest against the excesses of some members of the now disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).noting that he is pained that innocent lives have been lost .
Buhari made this known during his Natoinwide broadcast on Thursday noting that “I acknowledged the genuine concerns and agitations of members of the public regarding the excessive use of force by some members of SARS.
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“The choice to demonstrate peacefully is a fundamental right of citizens as enshrined in Section 40 of our Constitution and other enactments; … but 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.
“As a democratic government, we listened to, and carefully evaluated the five-point demands of the protesters. And, having accepted them, we immediately scrapped SARS, and put measures in place to address the other demands of our youth.
“On approving the termination of SARS I already made it clear that it was in line with our commitment to the implementation of extensive Police reforms. Sadly, the promptness with which we have acted seemed to have been misconstrued as a sign of weakness and twisted by some for their selfish unpatriotic interests.
“The result of this is clear to all observers: 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.
“All these executed in the name of the ENDSARS protests. 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 added.