By Dipo Olowookere
President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday night addressed the nation in a broadcast aired on major national television.
However, during the speech, Mr Buhari did not make mention of the Tuesday’s shooting of unarmed protesters at the popular Lekki Toll Gate by security operatives believed to be Nigerian Army.
He also did not offer condolences to families of those who lost their lives at the unfortunate incident or efforts being made to bring those behind the shootings to book, but he paid a “tribute to officers of the Nigeria Police Force who have tragically lost their lives in the line of duty.”
In the 10-minute speech, he appealed “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.”
The President reminded the youths that “to do otherwise will amount to undermining national security and the law and order situation,” warning that “under no circumstances will this be tolerated.”
He, therefore, called on them to “discontinue the street protests and constructively engage government in finding solutions. Your voice has been heard loud and clear and we are responding.”
“I call on all Nigerians to go about their normal businesses, and enjoin security agencies to protect lives and properties of all law abiding citizens without doing harm to those they are meant to protect.
“Let me pay tribute to officers of the Nigeria Police Force who have tragically lost their lives in the line of duty,” the President said.
Before ending his speech, he asked the members of the international community “to seek to know all the facts available before taking a position or rushing to judgment and making hasty pronouncements.”
“But remember that government also has the obligation to protect lives and properties, as well as the right of citizens to go about their daily businesses freely and protected from acts of violence,” Mr Buhari declared.
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