President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday expressed disappointment that Nigerians mistook his administration’s swift disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) as a sign of weakness by the Federal Government.
Buhari who stated this in his nationwide address on the current unrest in the country, added that the government’s action was twisted by some unnamed individuals for their selfish and unpatriotic interests.
He, therefore, appealed to the protesters to take advantage of the various initiatives put in place by the government to make lives better and more meaningful for the citizens.
He also counseled the youths to resist the temptation of being used by some “subversive elements” to cause chaos in the country.
The president advised the #EndSARS protesters to discontinue the street rallies and constructively engage government in finding solutions to the problems.
Buhari said: “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 and two major correctional facilities were attacked and convicts freed.
“Public and private properties completely destroyed or vandalised; the sanctity of the Palace of a Peace Maker, the Oba of Lagos has been violated.
“So-called protesters have invaded an international airport and in the process disrupted the travel plans of fellow Nigerians and our visitors.
“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.
“The spreading of deliberate falsehood and misinformation through social media in particular, that this government is oblivious to the pains and plight of its citizens, is a ploy to mislead the unwary within and outside Nigeria into unfair judgment and disruptive behaviour.
“Let me at this point reaffirm the Federal Government’s commitment to preserving the unity of this country.
“For you to do otherwise will amount to undermining national security and the law and order situation. Under no circumstances will this be tolerated.”