President Muhammadu Buhari has urged Nigerians to turn back family members who bring home goods they can’t account for.
After a week-long #EndSARS protest, violence had broken out leading to looting of public and private properties across the country.
Garba Shehu, media aide to the president, in a statement on Sunday, said the president has urged the police and other security agencies to restore calm and normalcy as quickly as possible.
“President Buhari said while his administration is working hard through many pragmatic ways to reduce the hardship of the millions of our unemployed, poor citizens and those whose lives have been thrown into disarray by the harsh economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, he warned that resort to widespread attacks and the organised looting and plundering of public and private property in many states are inimical to public good and stand condemned,” the statement read.
“A government that has launched a massive crackdown on corruption, brought in strong laws for a decisive battle against corruption, pursues loot recovery at home and abroad, and taken strong decisions against those who thought they were above the law, will not fold its arms when an otherwise legitimate and peaceful protest is turning into free-for-all vandalism and looting.
“While the administration has, for its part, blocked so many means of looting public money in a war against corruption, it is the expectation that all civil authorities, community and religious leaders in the country must rise against the organised looting and plunder we are witnessing in parts of the country.
“Families must turn back children who bring home unaccounted goods, in the same way wives must ask their husbands to return looted items brought home.”
The president said the incidents of vandalism and looting do not reflect well on the country’s image and should not be supported by reasonable members of the society.
“What is more, is that criminal actions as we have so far witnessed can weaken and erode the confidence of our people and that of foreign businesses in investing in the economy,” he was quoted as saying.
“Looting and vandalism will hurt trade and investment growth in our country, both large and small industries, as well as our hardworking people in the informal sectors of the economy.”
Violence escalated across the country after soldiers opened fire on peaceful #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki toll gate in Lagos on October 20.
Buhari has come under criticism for not mentioning the Lekki shooting in his speech to address the protest, but the presidency insists that “he had all along avoided going into a debate about the Lekki toll-gate incidents until all the facts are established.”
The president, however, appealed to the people all over the country to maintain peace.
He also commended state governments that have set up judicial panels to look into human rights abuses by police officers.