Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday made an appeal to the protesters to stop demonstrating, reported France 24.
In a televised address to the nation, President Buhari urged the youth to discontinue the street protests and constructively engage the government in finding solutions. He warned that the government will tolerate anyone undermining the country’s national security, law and order administration.
“Your voice has been heard loud and clear and we are responding,” the Nigerian president said. “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.”
Buhari also urged the international community to know all the facts about the incident following widespread condemnation over the deaths of anti-police brutality protesters. The president, however, failed to address a shooting of protesters that took place on Tuesday in Nigeria’s capital Lagos, causing injuries and an unknown number of deaths.
The president’s statement comes after Amnesty International claimed that at least 12 people were killed when government forces fired upon protesters during anti-police brutality demonstrations.
The protests started around two weeks ago over a video that showed a man being beaten, apparently by police officers from Nigeria’s controversial Special Anti-Robbery Squad, known as SARS.
Mr. Buhari confirmed that the government had disbanded SARS.
Earlier on Thursday, Babagana Monguno, Nigeria’s National Security Adviser, said that the president had ordered all security agencies to operate within limits and refrain from doing anything that will aggravate the situation.
Mr. Monguno added that the president is very concerned about this development and does not want a situation in which everything breaks down and results in anarchy, lawlessness, and people taking the law into their own hands.