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5 days after it happened, Presidency finally addresses Lekki shootings

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After a prolonged silence lasting almost a week, President Muhammadu Buhari through his spokesman Garba Sheu, has finally addressed the shooting of unarmed #ENDSARS protesters in Lekki, Lagos by men believed to be security operatives.

He vowed to ensure justice for “peaceful protesters who lost their lives.”

In a statement signed by the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the president explained that he decided not to talk on the shooting incident until he had “access to all the facts”.

He also promised property owners and business owners affected by the arson across the nation would get justice.

The statement said: “As the Judicial panel of inquiry set up by the Lagos State Government, one of the more dozen states to do so, starts sitting on Monday, President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed his full support and optimism that it will assist the nation to give justice to peaceful protesters who lost their lives, security men who were murdered and property owners whose assets were vandalized and looted.

“The President, who said he had all along avoided going into a debate about the Lekki Toll Gate incidents until all the facts are established, appealed to the people all over the country to maintain peace and brotherhood as the machinery of the government and the wheel of justice turn against the perpetrators of murder, arson, stealing, rape, assault and malicious damage to public and private property.

“President Buhari reiterated his appeal for calm, brotherhood and communal harmony, telling Nigerians not to turn on each other in hate as according to him, peace, brotherhood, and inter-communal harmony are central to the nation’s ethos.

“He said it is important that the police and other security agencies move everywhere to restore calm and normalcy as quickly as possible.”

The statement added: “A government that has launched a massive crackdown on corruption, brought in strong laws for a decisive battle against corruption, pursues loot recovery at home and abroad, and taken strong decisions against those who thought they were above the law, will not fold its arms when an otherwise legitimate and peaceful protest is turning into free-for-all vandalism and looting.

“While the administration has, for its part, blocked so 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 organized looting and plunder we are witnessing in parts of the country.”

The President admonished families to reject items looted and brought home by their children.

He stated: “Families must turn back children who bring home unaccounted goods, in the same way wives must ask their husbands to return looted items brought home.

“What is more, is that criminal actions as we have so far witnessed can weaken and erode the confidence of our people and that of foreign businesses in investing in the economy.

“Looting and vandalism will hurt trade and investment growth in our country, both large and small industries, as well as our hardworking people in the informal sectors of the economy.

“These incidents do not reflect well on any society. They are wrong and condemnable and should not be supported by reasonable members of the society.”

President Muhammadu Buhari addressed Nigerians on Thursday for the first time since the start of the ENDSARS Protest started on October 8th by Nigerians calling for an end to Police brutality and reforms in the Nigerian Police. During the address, he very notable did not mention the gruesome shooting of unarmed protesters which according to eyewitness accounts, left more than 7 people dead.

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