The Federal Government has expressed satisfaction with the roles played by the military, police, and other security agencies during the #EndSARS protests.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said this at a televised press conference in Abuja on Thursday.
He lamented that six soldiers and 37 policemen were killed during the “#EndSARS crisis”, claiming that soldiers killed no protester at the Lekki toll gate in Lagos on October 20.
Though there were reports that some protesters were killed and injured, the minister said the soldiers were professional.
He also said reports indicating that protesters were killed relied on unverified facts from social media.
The minister argued that soldiers and policemen “deserve commendation not condemnation” unless people would say “their lives do not matter”.
He also described as demoralising reports stating that protesters were killed without stating attacks on security operatives and infrastructure by hoodlums.
He said, “It is important to say that the Federal Government is very satisfied with the role played by the security agencies, especially the military and the police, all through the EndSARS crisis. The security agents were professional and measured in
their response. Even when their lives were at stake, they exercised uncommon restraint. Their professionalism and measured response saved many lives and properties. For example, despite arresting hordes of looters during the violence in Lagos, the army treated them humanely and even counseled them before handing them over to the police.
“The same cannot be said of those who unleashed mayhem on the security agents, killing and maiming them, sometimes in such a barbaric manner that is unprecedented in these parts. As I said earlier, six soldiers and 37 policemen were killed all over the country during the crisis. This is in addition to 196 policemen who were injured; 164 police vehicles that were destroyed and 134 police stations that were razed.
“Also, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, the Nigeria Customs Service and Nigeria Immigration Service all lost infrastructures, equipment and other valuables to attack by hoodlums during the crisis. Eight medium security custodial centres in six states (Edo, Lagos, Abia, Delta, Ondo and Ebonyi) were attacked, with 1,957 inmates set free and 31 staff injured.
“The Federal Government will therefore not accept a situation in which some so-called human rights bodies and jaundiced media organizations will continue to harass the security agencies over their roles during the crisis. Soldiers, policemen and other security agents deserve commendation, not condemnation, except, of course, their critics are saying they are not human beings and that their own rights do not matter. It is depressing and demoralizing to continue to vilify men and women in uniform, who themselves were victims of senseless violence unleashed by hoodlums.
“The role of the human rights organizations, in particular, became suspect after they simply ignored the brutal killing and maiming of security agents during the crisis, as well as the orgy of violence that left 57 civilians dead, 269 private/corporate facilities burnt/looted/vandalized, 243 government facilities burnt/vandalized and 81 government warehouses looted, and instead continued to dwell on the bodiless and bloodless ‘massacre’ at Lekki Toll Gate.
“They did not see anything wrong in the public and
private properties that were burnt or looted, neither did they see anything wrong in the fact that some of the businesses that were looted belonged to struggling young men and women. All they could see in their biased view of the whole situation was a hoax massacre.”