Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari finally addressed the nation on Thursday following two weeks of civil unrest, but citizens were left disappointed when he failed to directly address the recent violence in the Lagos suburb of Lekki.
“This government will not allow anybody or (any) groups to disrupt the peace of the nation,” he said during the televised address, warning protestors to “resist the temptation of being used by some subversive elements to cause chaos with the aim of truncating our nascent democracy.”
“For you to do otherwise will amount to undermining national security and law and order,” he said. “Under no circumstances would this be tolerated.”
Amnesty International said at least 12 people were killed by the Nigerian military on Tuesday when they opened fire on peaceful protesters who had violated the mandatory curfew. Demonstrators were rallying against police brutality and killings at the hands of the now-disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS.)
After the government announced that the controversial police unit had been dissolved, the protests continued, with civilians calling for more widespread police reforms and an end to corruption.
Buhari urged demonstrators “to discontinue the street protests and constructively engage the government in finding solutions. Your voice has been heard loud and clear and we are responding.”
Black Lives Matter issued a statement in support of the #EndSARS protests.
“We join others around the world in demanding the Nigerian government end the attack on protesters and we call for justice for those who have been injured and killed by all Nigerian forces,” said the statement obtained by AP News.
“The epidemic of police violence against Black people in a country led by Black faces proves what we have said time and again: violence imposed by law enforcement is about more than a few bad apples, the institution itself is irredeemable and exists to use violence to maintain a false sense of order in an unequal and unjust society,” the statement read. “We are one movement, one people, and we stand with the people of Nigeria.”
Nigerians across the world took to Twitter to weigh in on Buhari’s brief speech:
Originally posted 2020-10-23 09:00:06.