#EndSARS protests harmed Nigeria enormously, promoters must face the law: Presidency

Promoters of the #EndSARS nationwide protests must account for their actions, the presidency has said.

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Last month, demonstrations broke out in the country with calls for an end to police brutality and extensive reform of the force.

With the theme #EndSARS, protesters mainly the youths and celebrities stormed streets demonstrating and refused leaving despite the announcement that the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) they were against has been scrapped.

Most of the protesters cited government insincerity as reason for the continued protests despite state sponsored thugs unleashed on them. They cited similar announcements in the past which scrapped the brutal unit thrice with no further action thereafter.

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The street demonstrations mainly in southern Nigeria came to an end when soldiers on October 20 swooped on the peaceful protesters at Lekki toll gate, Lagos State and opened live rounds on them, killing about 10 in the process.

A day after, nationwide looting of COVID-19 palliatives in warehouses began including in the Northern region where leaders used ethnic and religious sentiments to suppress youths of the area from participating.

Last week, reports say the government has generated a no-fly list against suspected promoters of the exercise. The seizure of an international passport of one of the protest promoters reiterated similar claim, although the federal government denied the report.

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Days after, another report of government restricting financial transactions on bank accounts of the protesters emerged. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) accused of issuing the directive is yet to formally debunk the report as at press time.

While featuring on Channels Television yesterday, presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, said the nationwide action harmed the country and the promoters will be made to face consequences.

“This country has only one president and has only one constitution. President Muhammadu Buhari is responsible for his government. The buck stops on his table,” Mr Shehu said when he appeared on Sunday Politics show in the evening.

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“We are a country governed by law. There is a constitution —under section 33— that clearly defines the rights of citizens to freely protest in a peaceful way but where a peaceful protest turns into riot, violence and looting, there is a law and order duty to be performed.

“Everyone witnessed the massive looting of public and private properties particularly in Lagos, Calabar, Plateau, Taraba and some other states, even the FCT.

“Now, the laws of the country must be allowed to decide, to rule on wrongdoing on the part of anybody.

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“I am not particular about any celebrity or promoter but this country has been harmed enormously and people should be prepared to account for what they did,” he added.

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