President Muhammadu Buhari has warned Nigerians, particularly the youths against embarking on second phase of protest against police brutality tagged EndSARS that was marred by violence across the country.
This is coming as he disclosed that plans had been concluded by his administration to deal decisively with any persons or group engaging in any act of hooliganism under pretense of lawful and peaceful protests.
The President noted with the destruction of lives and property that followed the October protest across the nation, his administration would stop at nothing to ensure peace and stability in the country.
Virtually declaring open the Chief of Army Staff’s Annual Conference 2020 on Monday, Buhari commended the Nigerian Armed Forces for their efforts at swiftly restoring law and order in various states during the large-scale criminality that followed the EndSARS protests.
Reiterating government’s commitment to the rights of citizens to embark on peaceful protests responsibly and in accordance with the laws of the land, the President recounted that the protests were sadly hijacked by hooligans to cause wanton damage to lives and property in many cities across the country.
Furthermore, Buhari described the Year 2020 as a very challenging one, citing the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and its negative impact on almost every aspect of national life.
“Despite this, I am pleased to note that the Army remained resolute in the discharge of its Constitutional roles and in keeping the wealth and welfare of our soldiers a priority. The Army’s support of Civil Authorities in the management of the COVID – 19 Pandemic is a case in point.
“Also, the peaceful elections conducted in Edo and Ondo States would not have been achieved without the high level of professionalism displayed by all security agencies, including the Army,” he said at the conference themed “Human Capacity Development in Sustaining Professionalism and Responsiveness of the Nigerian Army in the Discharge of its Constitutional Roles.”
The President commended the Army for its unwavering commitment towards curtailing the activities of insurgents, armed bandits, kidnappers, cattle rustlers and other violent criminals through ongoing exercises and operations in different parts of the country.
Notably, he said the Exercise SAHEL SANITY launched a few months ago in the North West states to rid the Katsina-Zamfara corridor of marauding bandits had recorded commendable progress.
”I have also been briefed about the tremendous successes that have been achieved by troops during the ongoing Operation FIRE BALL in the North East.
”I charge you all to sustain these efforts until the full restoration of peace and security in the nation is achieved,” the President told members of the armed forces at the conference which provides an avenue for the leadership of the Army to re-assess its preparedness and operational readiness in carrying out its Constitutional roles.
Continuing, Buhari hinted that he had been briefed that some of the major capabilities procured for the Army would soon be inducted into the various theatres of operations, urging personnel ‘‘to make judicious use of these capabilities, even as we await the arrival of others currently pending shipment to the country.’’