President Muhammadu Buhari says he avoided going into a debate about the Lekki Toll Gate incident until all facts were established.
He said Nigerians must maintain peace and brotherhood, saying perpetrators of murder, arson, stealing, rape, assault and malicious damage to public and private property would be dealt with.
He expressed optimism that judicial panels of enquiry being set up by state governments would assist the nation to give justice to peaceful protesters who lost their lives, security men who were murdered and property owners whose assets were vandalised and looted.
The President stated this ahead of Monday’s commencement of sitting of the judicial panel of enquiry set up by the Lagos State Government to investigate allegations relating to the EndSARS protest.
In a statement, on Sunday, President Buhari warned that 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, would not fold its arms when an otherwise legitimate and peaceful protest was turning into a free-for-all vandalism and looting.
He said civil authorities, community and religious leaders in the country must rise against the organised looting and plunder being witnessed in parts of the country.
Turn back looted goods
The statement advised families to turn back children who bring home unaccounted goods, in the same way wives must ask their husbands to return looted items brought home.
Criminal actions like the ones taking place can weaken and erode the confidence of Nigerians and that of foreign businesses in investing in the economy, he emphasised.
President Buhari commended Lagos State for prosecuting 229 suspects arrested for allegedly using the EndSARS protest to destroy and loot property.
He condemned hate messages and eviction notices to ethnic and religious groups, asking Nigerians to take pride in the fact that the country’s diverse people have been living with one another in harmony for ages.