President Muhammadu Buhari has broken his silence on the shooting of #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki Tollgate, a few days after he addressed the nation on the widespread violence and unrest that marred the protests.
While avoiding to get into any debate until all facts were established, the president vowed to ensure justice for the peaceful protesters who lost their lives.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, who issued the statement on Sunday on behalf of the president, explained that he decided not to speak on the shooting incident until he had access to all the facts.
He also promised that property and business owners affected by the arson across the country would get justice.
The president appealed to people all over the country to maintain peace and brotherhood as the machinery of the government and the wheel of justice turned against the perpetrators of murder, arson, stealing, rape, assault and malicious damage to public and private property.
He has also asked parents and guardians not to encourage their children and wards to partake in the ongoing nationwide looting, and destruction of property.
The president, in the statement, said, “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.’’
He advised that peace, brotherhood and inter-communal harmony are central to Nigeria’s ethos, and urged everyone not to turn against one another in hate.
He said it was important that the police and other security agencies moved everywhere to restore calm and normalcy as quickly as possible.
Buhari said his administration was working hard through many pragmatic ways to reduce the hardship of the millions of unemployed, poor citizens and those whose lives had been thrown into disarray by the harsh economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The president said, “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 organized looting and plunder we are witnessing in parts of the country.
“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. 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.
“These incidents do not reflect well on any society. They are wrong and condemnable and should not be supported by reasonable members of society.”
According to the statement, President Buhari commended the decision of the Lagos State Ministry of Justice to prosecute 229 suspects arrested by the police for allegedly using the #EndSARS protest to destroy and loot public and private property.
The President pointed out that his administration had taken note of the grievances of the people. He said, “We have heard you loud and clear,” while stressing that “the violence must stop.”
President Buhari also condemned hate messages and eviction notices to ethnic and religious groups, asking Nigerians to take pride in the fact that our diverse people have been living with one another in harmony for ages.
He said the right of all citizens to live and work in any part of the country is a constitutional right, which will be defended by the government.
ICPC Chairman reveals #EndSARS protests was financed with cryptocurrency
ICPC Chairman has revealed to the Nigerian Senate that the #EndSARS protest was largely funded with cryptocurrency.
The Chairman of Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Commission (ICPC), Bolaji Owasanoye has revealed to the Nigerian Senate that the #EndSARS protest was largely funded with cryptocurrency.
This is as he said there are strong indications that it could be used to fund Insurgency in the country.
According to a report from Vanguard, this disclosure was made by the ICPC Chairman, during an interactive session with Senate Joint Committee on Banking, ICT, Cybercrime and Capital Market led by Senator Uba Sani on Tuesday, February 23, 2021.
The Joint committee was mandated to look at the decision of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to ban Cryptocurrency in Nigeria.
The ICPC boss while supporting the position of the CBN, said that the nature of operations of Cryptocurrency exposes it to money laundering and terrorism financing.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) has said that the agency averted a $3million fraud linked to 20 bank accounts.
Owasanoye further explained that the anti-graft agency currently has a number of cases linked to Cryptocurrency but is unable to track the suspects.
He brought the attention of the Senate to a period in 2018 when a number of globally rated financial institutions said their financial statements had been hacked with the perpetrators asking to be paid in Cryptocurrencies.
ICPC Chairman noted that the CBN as a regulator has the responsibility to ensure sound financial stability and it will be difficult to achieve in the case of Cryptocurrencies where the players are anonymous.
While sharing the experience of the Indian Supreme Court and how it ruled and admitted that it does not know what it is, he urged the Lawmakers to as a matter of urgency, take decisive action against Cryptocurrencies.
What you should know
- It can be recalled that the CBN had directed the financial institutions to immediately close the accounts of such persons or entities transacting in or operating cryptocurrency exchanges, warning of severe regulatory sanctions in the event of any breach of the directive.
- The apex bank warned the Deposit Money Banks, Non-Financial Institutions and other Financial Institutions against doing business in crypto and other digital assets.
- The latest directive is coming after the CBN had in 2018 stated that cryptocurrencies are not legal tender and as such are illegal.
#OccupyLekkiTollGate: Lagos Attorney-General explains large police presence at Lekki toll gate
Lagos Attorney-General has stated that the State does not support the abuse of peaceful protesters.
The Lagos State Attorney-General, Moyosore Onigbanjo says that the reason for large numbers of policemen at the Lekki toll gate during Saturday’s protest was to prevent the protest from getting hijacked by hoodlums.
The Attorney-General of the State disclosed this in an interview with Channels TV on Sunday evening.
“Our duty is to face the dictate of the law.
“The state does not derive any joy from seeing people brutalized, but we must ensure that we have a society where law and order prevails and where everyone is free and secure to go about their businesses.
“Your right to protests only extends to where the other person’s freedom of association starts,” Onigbanjo said.
He added that the State Government wanted to prevent any problems during the protests, citing Covid-19 regulations preventing the mass gathering of people and hoodlums hijacking the protests.
“I believe that was the desire of the state government yesterday that people can protests, but think about the Covid-19 regulations, the existing laws.
“We cannot afford the sort of vandalism we saw before, the state was genuinely apprehensive that hoodlums might take over a peaceful protest, we have seen this before. And that was why the police came out in large numbers that this did not degenerate the last time,” he added.
What you should know
Nairametrics reported over the weekend that Officers of the Nigerian Police Force arrested #OccupyLekkiTollGate protesters at the Lekki toll gate on Saturday morning.
This was confirmed by multiple media images and videos on social media, showing the protesters being arrested and loaded inside police trucks and van, popularly known as Black Maria.
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