President Muhammadu Buhari has listed the things his government had achieved, their plans for the welfare of Nigerians and security, but said nothing about the Lekki Tollgate killing of peaceful #EndSARS protesters by soldiers in Lagos on Tuesday.
The President made the enumeration during his much-anticipated address, following the killings of protesters, the activities of hoodlums and general crisis snowballing from the agitation by youths for police brutality to end.
Recall that the high point of the protests was when military men opened fire on peaceful national anthem-singing and Nigerian flags-waving #EndSARS protesters on Tuesday night, after lights went off and CCTV cameras were taken off at the Lekki Tollgate, Lagos, which had been the major gathering ground for the protesters.
Reading from a prepared speech Thursday night (read the full speech HERE), Buhari said: “Both our deeds and words have shown how committed this administration has been to the well-being and welfare of citizens, even with the steadily dwindling revenues, and the added responsibilities and restrictions due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
“Government has put in place measures and initiatives principally targeted at youths, women and the most vulnerable groups in our society.
“These included our broad plan to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years; the creation of N75 billion National Youth Investment Fund to provide opportunities for the youths, and the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Survival Fund, through which government is:
“(a) paying 3-month salaries of the staff of 100,000 micro, small- and medium- enterprises (b) paying for the registration of 250,000 businesses at the Corporate Affairs Commission (c) giving a grant of N30,000 to 100,000 artisans;
“(d) guaranteeing market for the products of traders. These are in addition to many other initiatives such as: a. Farmermoni, b. Tradermoni, c. Marketmoni, d. N-Power, e. N-Tech and f. N-Agro.
“No Nigerian Government in the past has methodically and seriously approached poverty-alleviation like we have done.”
On the security situation, Buhari said: “We will continue to improve good governance and our democratic process, including through sustained engagement.
“We shall continue to ensure that liberty and freedom, as well as the fundamental rights of all citizens, are protected.
“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.”
Addressing the protesters, the President noted that “In the circumstances, 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.
“For you to do otherwise will amount to undermining national security and the law and order situation.
“Under no circumstances will this be tolerated. I, therefore, call on our youths to discontinue the street protests and constructively engage government in finding solutions. Your voice has been heard loud and clear and we are responding.”