ABUJA— Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has said at least 69 people have been killed during the #EndSARS protests across the country.
During a virtual meeting with former leaders and security chiefs on Friday, Buhari said 51 civilians, 11 police officers and seven soldiers had died.
A statement released by presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, at the end of the meeting also quoted Buhari as saying it is unfortunate that the “initial genuine and well-intended protest of youths was hijacked and misdirected”.
The past Nigerian leaders present at the meeting included Gen. Yakubu Gowon, President Olusegun Obasanjo, Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, Chief Ernest Shonekan, Gen. Abulsalami Abubakar and former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Each of them commended President Buhari for steps taken so far, in restoring peace and order in the country and also applauded the presidential broadcast of Thursday.
Separately, the Lagos State Government has said that it had arrested and will be prosecuting 229 persons, who took advantage of the unrest in the state to commit arson, murder, and stealing.
The state government through the Lagos State Ministry of Justice said the suspects allegedly took advantage of the #EndSARS protests to destroy and loot public and private property in different parts of the state.
Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN), the state Director of Public Prosecution, Olayinka Adeyemi, has gone round relevant police formations with a team of prosecutors to evaluate files of those arrested by the police with a view to determining those that have prima facie case made against them.
“229 suspects were arrested by the police for various criminal offenses ranging from arson, murder, stealing, malicious damage of property and assault before and after the state-wide curfew imposed by the governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to restore law and order in Lagos,” the commissioner said.
He averred that after the conclusion of the evaluation exercise, those who have cases to answer will be arraigned before the courts on Monday while others will be released.
The commissioner pleaded with Lagos residents to maintain peace, law, and order in their respective communities.
Meanwhile, relative calm has returned to Nigerian cities after more than two weeks of deadly protests against police brutality and widespread anger over the shooting of peaceful demonstrators.
In Lagos, the country’s commercial hub and the epicentre of the protests, authorities eased a 24-hour curfew, while the streets of the capital, Abuja, gradually returned to normal.
With Lagos’s residents allowed to leave their homes between 8 am and 6 pm local time, some decided to go out and help government workers clean up the streets and buildings damaged by arsonists.
“The level of destruction is shocking. We can’t leave everything to the government,” said Lagos resident Chinwendu Madubuike.
“Lagos belongs to all of us. We are not happy with the destruction of buildings and the burning of shops. The bit we can do is to clean up the mess and begin to rebuild what has been destroyed,” added Madubuike.
But others decided to boycott the clean-up exercise despite online appeals by some volunteers.
“We the youths have been on the streets protesting peacefully for over a week and cleaning up our mess day and night,” said entrepreneur Chelsea Balls.
“As much I would love to clean up my state and have my state back to its normal form, we the youths didn’t make that mess – the hoodlums hired by the government did that,” added the 36-year-old.
Source: Nam News Network (NNN)