President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the suspension of protests across the nation.
In a nationwide broadcast on Thursday night, he said the suspension follows the violent turn of #ENDSARS protests across the Federation, which have been hijacked by hoodlums.
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.”
Mr Buhari, however, stressed that the scrapping of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, was not a weakness but rather his administration’s commitment to the implementation of extensive Police reforms.
According to him, it was sad that the promptness with which the SARS was scrapped 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,” he lamented.
He, therefore, commiserated with the families of the victims that lost their lives during the protest.
“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 noted.
Mr Buhari, therefore, appealed to the protesters take advantage of the various well-thought-out initiatives of his administration designed to make their lives better and more meaningful.
“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,” he added.
The President noted that there was no Nigerian Government in the past has “methodically and seriously approached poverty-alleviation like we have done”.
According to him, his administration has put in place measures and initiatives principally targeted at youths, women and the most vulnerable groups in our society.
He said: “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:
“Paying three months salaries of the staff of 100,000 micro, small – and medium – enterprises, paying for the registration of 250,000 businesses at the Corporate Affairs Commission, giving a grant of N30,000 to 100,000 artisans; and guaranteeing market for the products of traders.
“These are in addition to many other initiatives such as; Farmermoni, Tradermoni, Marketmoni, N-Power, N-Tech and N-Agro.”