President Muhammadu Buhari finally addressed the nation on Thursday night about the ongoing #EndSARS protests all over the country.
Below are 10 things the President said tonight;
1. HIJACKING OF #ENDSARS PROTESTS
The president said; "It has become necessary for me to address you having heard from many concerned Nigerians and having concluded a meeting with all the Security Chiefs."
"I must warn those who have hijacked and misdirected the initial, genuine and well - intended protest of some of our youths in parts of the country, against the excesses of some members of the now disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS)."
2. PROTESTS ARE A FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHT
President Buhari said; "On Monday 12th October, I acknowledged the genuine concerns and agitations of members of the public regarding the excessive use of force by some members of SARS."
"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."
3. #EndSARS PROTESTERS DEMANDS
The President disclosed: "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."
4. CRIMES COMMITTED IN THE NAME OF #EndSARS
President Buhari said: "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; 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."
5. FAKE NEWS
The President lamented: "The spreading of deliberate falsehood and misinformation through the 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 judgement and disruptive behaviour."
"On the contrary, both our deeds and words have shown how committed this administration has been to the wellbeing and welfare of citizens, even with the steadily dwindling revenues, and the added responsibilities and restrictions due to the Coronavirus pandemic."
6. GOVERNMENT INITIATIVES FOR YOUTHS
The President said: "Government has put in place measures and initiatives principally targeted at youths, women and the most vulnerable groups in our society. These included our broad plan to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years; the creation of N75 billion National Youth Investment Fund to provide opportunities for the youths and the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Survival Fund, through which government is:
a. paying three months salaries of the staff of 100,000 micro, small - and medium - enterprises,
b. paying for the registration of 250,000 businesses at the Corporate Affairs Commission,
c. giving a grant of N30,000 to 100,000 artisans; and
d. guaranteeing market for the products of traders.
"These are in addition to many other initiatives such as;
e. N-Tech and
"No Nigerian Government in the past has methodically and seriously approached poverty-alleviation like we have done."
7. POLICE WELFARE/REFORM
Speaking on Police reform, President Buhari said: "With regard to the welfare of police personnel, the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission has been directed to expedite action on the finalization of the new salary structure of members of the Nigeria Police Force. The emoluments of other paramilitary services are also being reviewed upwards."
"In order to underscore the importance of education in preparing youths for the future, this administration has come up with a new salary structure and other incentives for our teachers."
8. COMMITMENT TO NIGERIA'S UNITY
President Buhari said; "Let me at this point reaffirm the Federal Government’s commitment to preserving the unity of this country. We will continue to improve good governance and our democratic process, including through sustained engagement."
"We shall continue to ensure that liberty and freedom, as well as the fundamental rights of all citizens are protected."
9. INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY
The President said: "To our neighbours in particular, and members of the international community, many of whom have expressed concern about the ongoing development in Nigeria, we thank you and urge you all to seek to know all the facts available before taking a position or rushing to judgment and making hasty pronouncements."
"In the circumstances, I would like to appeal to protesters to note and take advantage of the various well-thought-out initiatives of this administration designed to make their lives better and more meaningful, and resist the temptation of being used by some subversive elements to cause chaos with the aim of truncating our nascent democracy."
10. END THE PROTESTS
The president said: "I therefore call on our youths to discontinue the street protests and constructively engage government in finding solutions. Your voice has been heard loud and clear and we are responding."
"And I call on all Nigerians to go about their normal businesses, and enjoin security agencies to protect lives and properties of all law abiding citizens without doing harm to those they are meant to protect. Let me pay tribute to officers of the Nigeria Police Force who have tragically lost their lives in the line of duty."