ADDRESS TO THE NATION BY HIS EXCELLENCY, MUHAMMADU BUHARI, PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA ON THE ENDSARS PROTESTS, 22ND OCTOBER, 2020
It has become important for me to address you, having heard from many of the Nigerians concerned, and to conclude a meeting with all the Security Chiefs.
2. I must caution those who have hijacked and misdirected the original, sincere, and well-intentioned protest of some of our youth in parts of the country against the excesses of some of the members of the now-disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
3. On Monday, 12 October, I acknowledged the sincere concern and agitation of members of the public about the excessive use of force by some members of the SARS.
4. The choice to demonstrate peacefully is a fundamental right of people, as enshrined in Section 40 of our Constitution and other enactments; but this right to protest also imposes on the demonstrators the duty to respect the rights of other people and the need to act within the law.
5. As a democratic nation, we listened to and carefully assessed the protestors’ five-point demands. And, having embraced them, we immediately scrapped SARS and put in place steps to meet the other demands of our youth.
6. On the acceptance of the termination of SARS, I have already made it clear that it is in line with our commitment to the implementation of comprehensive police reforms.
7. Unfortunately, the promptness with which we behaved seemed to have been misinterpreted as a sign of weakness and distorted by some for their selfish, unpatriotic interests.
8. The outcome is clear to all observers: human lives have been lost; sexual harassment has been reported; two major correctional facilities have been attacked and convicts have been freed; public and private property has been completely destroyed or vandalized; the sanctity of the Palace of the Peacemaker, the Oba of Lagos, has been violated. The so-called demonstrators stormed the International Airport and, in the process, disrupted the travel plans of fellow Nigerians and our tourists.
9. They were all executed in the name of the ENDSARS protests. Indeed, I am profoundly saddened that innocent lives have been lost. These tragedies are unsolicited and needless. Certainly, there is no way whatsoever to connect these wrongdoings to the rational expression of the grievance of our country’s youth.
10. The dissemination of deliberate disinformation and misinformation through social media, in particular, that this government is insensitive to the suffering and plight of its people, is an effort to deceive the unwary inside and outside Nigeria into unjust judgment and destructive behavior.
11. On the contrary, both our actions and our words have demonstrated how dedicated this administration has been to the well-being and well-being of people, with steadily decreasing revenues and increased obligations and restrictions due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
12. The government has placed in place policies and programs directed specifically at young people, women, and the most disadvantaged communities in our community. This included our large plan to raise 100 million Nigerians out of poverty over the next 10 years; the development of the N75 billion National Youth Investment Fund to provide jobs for youth and the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Survival Fund, through which the government is:
- Paying workers wages of 100,000 micro, small and medium-sized enterprises for three months,
- Paying the registration of 250,000 corporations to the Committee on Corporate Affairs,
- Granting N30,000 to 100,000 craftsmen;
- Ensuring the demand for the goods of traders.
13. In addition to many other programs, such as;
- N-Tech and and
- N-Agro, guy.
14. In the past, no Nigerian Government has addressed poverty methodically and seriously – alleviation as we have done.
15. With regard to the welfare of police officers, the National Employment, Income, and Wages Commission has been directed to expedite action to finalize the current pay structure of members of the Nigerian Police Force. Emoluments of other paramilitary services are now being updated upwards.
16. To underscore the value of education in preparing young people for the future, this administration has created a new pay structure and other benefits for our teachers.
17. Enable me at this point to reaffirm the determination of the Federal Government to maintain the unity of this nation.
Eighteen. We will continue to strengthen good governance and our democratic process, even though sustained dedication.
19. We shall continue to ensure that independence and independence as well as the basic rights of all people are secured.
Twenty. Note, however, that the government still has a duty to protect lives and property, as well as the right of people to go about their everyday business freely and protected from acts of abuse.
21. To our neighbors in particular, and to the representatives of the international community, many of whom have expressed concern about the ongoing developments in Nigeria, we thank you and encourage you all to strive to know all the facts before taking a stand or rushing to a decision and making hasty pronouncements.
22. In these circumstances, I would appeal to the protesters to notice and take advantage of the numerous well-thought-out initiatives of this administration aimed at making their lives safer and more meaningful and to avoid the urge to be exploited by some disruptive forces to create disruption in order to disrupt our nascent democracy.
23. If you do otherwise, it would compromise national security and the law and order situation. This will not be accepted in any condition.
24. I, therefore, call on our young people to stop the street demonstrations and to engage the government constructively in finding solutions. Your voice has been heard loud and clear, and we’re responding.
25. And I call on all Nigerians to practice their usual business, and I encourage security agencies to protect the lives and assets of all law-abiding people without harming those they are supposed to protect. I would like to pay tribute to the Nigerian police officers who have unfortunately lost their lives in the line of duty.
26. I would like to thank those state governors, traditional and religious leaders who have called for peace and restraint. I also thank young leaders who have stopped their followers from taking the law into their hands.
27. This government respects and will continue to respect all the democratic rights and civil liberties of the people, but it will not allow anyone or groups to disturb the peace of our country.
Oh, thank you all. God bless the Republic of Nigeria.