The Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, says President Muhammadu Buhari tolerated the ‘excesses’ of #EndSARS protesters in the country, back in October 2020.
According to the AGF, that, among other actions of the president is proof of his leniency, despite what he termed as “human rights violations” in the country.
Mr Malami said this on Wednesday while reacting to a number of issues: from government’s response to the #EndSARS protests, to the appointment of new service chiefs, the extension of the appointment of the Inspector-General of Police, among others.
“As far as Human Rights records of the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is concerned, the fact speaks for itself. The commendations by the international body — the Committee for the Protection of Journalists, and local compliance with the recommendations of the National Human Rights Commission, have been unprecedented. Moreover, the tolerance and indeed, accommodation of the excesses of the #EndSARS protesters were all facts that go to establish a point that President Buhari has shown greater accommodation for human rights violations, as far as the Nigerian State is concerned,” the AGF said.
According to him, “no nation in the world could have tolerated the idea of destruction to its security institutions”.
“I think over 20 police stations or more — I’m not certain about the number, they can be more — were destroyed during #EndSARS protests and government has a responsibility to ensure the protection of lives and freedom of movement.
“We are confronted with a situation whereby #EndSARS protesters blocked roads, caused mayhem, caused deaths, caused destruction, and they were significantly tolerated,” he added.
Meanwhile, the AGF also reacted to the court order on the Central Bank of Nigeria to unfreeze bank accounts of #EndSARS promoters.
He explained that the law provides the federal government with other options which include the right to challenge or excise further considerations on the matter if the need arises.
A Federal High Court in Abuja had earlier, ordered the CBN to unfreeze the bank accounts of 20 #EndSARS promoters. Justice Ahmed Mohammed gave the ruling following the agreement reached by parties in the suit to amicably resolve the matter.
He then, set aside the November 4, 2020 order and ruled that all the accounts of the affected persons “be immediately defreezed.”
The CBN, in an exparte motion, had prayed the court to freeze the bank accounts of Bolatito Rachael Oduala and 19 others who participated in last year’s protest to end police brutality in the country.
The apex bank said it took the action to investigate the promoters of the protest on allegations bordering on terrorism financing, among others.
Fresh EndSARS Protests?
Meanwhile, the Lagos State Judicial Panel on Restitution for victims of police brutality and other related matters has returned control of the Lekki toll gate plaza to its owners, the Lekki Concession Company (LCC).
The toll gate had been one of the major converging points for the protesters in Lagos last year and was also the location for the infamous #LekkiShootings, masterminded by security operatives particularly men of the Nigerian Army.
During the proceedings on Saturday, the Chairman of the panel, Justice Doris Okuwobi, gave a ruling allowing the Lekki Concession Company (LCC) Ltd to repossess the toll gate – a decision that has been met with diverse views from Nigerians, many of whom are of the opinion that the toll gate should remain closed in honour of those lost their lives o the incident.
Fresh protests are believed to be looming, even as the toll gate is expected to undergo reconstruction and subsequently, resume full operations.