The Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari while addressing the country on Thursday evening has refused to acknowledge the attack on Lekki protesters, he, however, advised members of the international community to refrain from making ‘hasty judgements’ about the ongoing developments in the country.
It should be recalled that on Tuesday, October 20, unidentified soldiers reportedly opened fire on peaceful protesters at Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos.
The President made no mention of the attack on the protesters, he only stated, “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,” he said.
Buhari, in his statement 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.
“We urge you all to seek to know all the facts available before taking a position or rushing to judgment and making hasty pronouncements.
Recall that international personalities such as Hillary Clinton, United Nations and the United Kingdom, among other have condemned the killing of the unarmed protesters.
Media outfits such as CNN, Aljazeera and BBC have been following the occurrence closely.
The Nigerian President added that youths should discontinue the street protests and constructively engage government in finding solutions.
In reaction to the President’s speech, an human rights lawyer, Mr Femi Falana (SAN) stated that the official notice contained avoidable gaps.
He pointed out where Buhari accused the international community of jumping into hasty conclusion over the shooting of unarmed peaceful protesters by soldiers at the Lekki tollgate in Lagos State on Tuesday.
He posited, “The presidential speech contained some avoidable lacunae. For instance, the President accused the international community of jumping into hasty conclusions with respect to the Lekki shootings.
“My worry is that the President would be embarrassed at the end of legal inquiry into the military invasion of the Lekki toll gate as the number of the unarmed protesters that were mowed down and the circumstances of the barbaric attack by the soldiers from a particular military barrack in Victoria Island would be exposed.
“It was good that the President consoled the families of the police personnel who unfortunately lost their lives in the course of duty. Similar presidential condolences ought to have been extended to the families of the unarmed protesters who were brutally murdered in Ogbomoso, Ibadan, Benin, Lagos etc. I want to believe that the President was not informed that unarmed protesters were slain in the premeditated attacks by police and military personnel.
“However, the President reiterated the point that the voice of the protesters had been heard loud and clear and that the Federal Government is committed to addressing the outstanding demands. Specifically, the President announced that the emoluments of police officers would be reviewed upwards. That is a concession of one of the key demands of the protesters,” Falana explained.