The minority caucus in the House of Representatives has said after reviewing the speech by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on the #EndSARS protests across the country, the address did not meet the expectation of most Nigerians.
The caucus said it was particularly surprised that Buhari’s speech failed to address the attack by soldiers on innocent and unarmed Nigerian youths at the Lekki toll gate, “the very development that sparked off violent restiveness across the nation and consequent widespread demand for a presidential address.”
In a statement issued on Friday by the Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu, the minority caucus said it expected the address by the President to “come with some empathy for victims of the killings and other acts of brutality by unscrupulous security operatives, particularly at this time when soothing words from the President would have gone a long way to calm frayed nerves.”
The statement was titled ‘EndSARS: President Buhari’s Speech Leaves Much to be Desired – Reps Minority Caucus.’
It partly read, “Indeed, the expectation across Nigeria was for Mr. President to reassure Nigerians, especially the youths, by forcefully condemning the killing and brutalisation of our young ones, announcing an accelerated independent inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the gruesome acts and setting a clear pathway for the much-needed overhaul of our security system.
“The much desired national healing, peace, unity, and stability of our nation anchor on such show of concern and commitment by leaders.
“As lawmakers, our caucus, therefore, urges President Buhari, as the father of the nation, to take further steps to realign with the expectations of the people and reassure the nation by immediately setting up an independent inquiry into these killings with a view to prosecuting and bringing the perpetrators to book.
“This is in addition to an inquiry into videos and reports that unscrupulous security operatives mobilised thugs to attack peaceful protesters and unleash violence on innocent Nigerians. Those behind such shameful act that escalated sectional hostilities and pitched citizens against one another should be brought to book.”
The opposition lawmakers also urged Buhari to urgently rejig the nation’s security architecture “by replacing his service chiefs with more competent and professional hands to assist in effectively handling the security challenges confronting the nation.”
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Also, the lawmakers urged the President to take urgent steps to accelerate action on his economic reforms in order to provide ample opportunities for the youth to gainfully participate in the productive sectors and ameliorate the hardship, hunger, and frustration in the land.
“The minority caucus notes that history beckons and that the unity, stability, peaceful co-existence and general wellbeing of citizens in our country should be paramount at this point in our national life. Our caucus again commiserates with the families of the victims of this unfortunate development, while suing for calm across the country and urging for a collective action that will engender a united and peaceful Nigeria for the good of all,” Elumelu added.