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Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, claims the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has been fantastic with protecting human rights in Nigeria as demonstrated by the government’s response to the EndSARS protests.
Mr Malami stated this when he appeared as a guest in a Channels Television’s programme, Politics Today on Wednesday.
He claimed that the EndSARS protesters caused mayhem, deaths and breached the constitutional provisions during the protests yet the government were lenient to accommodate their excesses.
Recall that in In October 2020, thousands of Nigerians marched in Lagos and other cities to demand an end to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, or SARS, a police unit accused of extrajudicial killings and abuses through the EndSARS.
The government announced the unit had been disbanded, but many Nigerians were skeptical, as officials have promised an end to the unit and its alleged abuses before.
The protest was hijacked by hoodlums who took advantage of the protests to unleash violence in the state.
The demonstrations also turned bloody in Lagos on October 20, 2020, when men in military uniform opened fire and allegedly shot dead some unarmed protesters at the Lekki toll plaza, an epicentre of the protests in Lagos.
The Lekki Toll Gate shootings has since been seen as an extension of human rights violations by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
Speaking on the conduct of the EndSARS protesters, Malami said no other country could have tolerated their excesses.
“I think the administration has been extraordinary lenient with the human rights protection and that was what caused the problems associated with the violence of the EndSARS protests,” Malami said.
“Take for example, no nation in the world could have tolerated a situation whereby over 200 of its policemen were killed in the protests process of freedom of expression.
“Nigeria has tolerated that. No nation in the world could have tolerated the idea of destruction to its security institutions, I think over 20 police stations were destroyed in the course of EndSARS protests.
“Government has a responsibility in these circumstances to ensure protection to lives, protection to personal liberty, protection to freedom of movement and individuals and here we are confronted with a situation where EndSARS protesters blocked roads, cashed deaths, caused mayhem, caused destruction and they were significantly tolerated to certain extent.
“And I think in all sincerity, I have the background of these facts and figures to international communities, facts relating to government tolerance of the excesses of the EndSARS protesters. I think it is logical for one to conveniently, logically and justifiably conclude that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari has shown greater zeal in terms of protection and giving accommodation to human rights and excesses which ordinarily should have been confronted squarely.”