The president said that it had become necessary to address the country having heard from many concerned Nigerians and also after concluding a meeting with all security chiefs.
He said that his government respects all the democratic rights and civil liberties of the people, but it will “not allow anybody or groups to disrupt the peace of our nation” calling for an end to all the protests.
“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”
“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,” he said.
The President noted that while demonstrating peacefully was a fundamental right of citizens as enshrined in Section 40 of Nigeria’s Constitution, protestors must respect the rights of other citizens and operate within the law.
The President however said that as of Monday 12th October, he had acknowledged the concerns and agitations of members of the public regarding the excessive use of force by some members of SARA and had therefore ‘immediately scrapped SARS and put measures in place’.
The President in his speech also talked about the police reforms his government intended to employ such as the finalization of the new salary structure for members of the Nigeria Police Force which he called on the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission to expedite.
The President also cautioned members of the public against spreading false information and to be vigilant in the spread of fake news.
“The spreading of deliberate falsehood and misinformation through the social media in particular, that this government is oblivious to the pains and plight of its citizens, is a ploy to mislead the unwary within and outside Nigeria into unfair judgement and disruptive behaviour,” he said.
Many considered the President’s speech long over-due as they had expected him to address the nation immediately after the alleged shooting of #EndSARS protesters by officers of the Nigerian Army while they assembled at the Lekki Toll Plaza in demonstration against police brutality.