#YNaijaEndSARSupdate: Here are the top 5 takeaways from President Buhari’s speech on #EndSARS protests

The shock that coursed through the veins of every Nigerian across the country was unquantifiable. On Tuesday night, via a live broadcast, Nigerians watched armed men in military uniform open fire on protesters at the Lekki toll gate; witnessing protesters tending to the wound of the injured and closing the eyes of the dead.  The incident sparked global outrage, and many called for President Muhammadu Buhari to address the nation. After two wearying days, Buhari finally spoke to the nation in what was described as a live broadcast on Thursday, 22 October 2020.

Here are the key takeaways from his speech:

Buhari doesn’t care: There was no bigger takeaway from the live broadcast than the weighing feeling of a President who didn’t really care. He didn’t care about the loss of the lives or the outcry searing the land. How do we know he doesn’t care? The president made no mention of the peaceful protesters who had been killed by armed soldiers. He made no mention of the seemingly calculated way the shooting had been carried out. He didn’t state who ordered the shooting. He made no mention of it at all. That’s how we know he doesn’t care. Yet, he took the time to commiserate with the Oba of Lagos on the vandalisation of his palace and complained about the obstruction of traffic to the Abuja airport and confidently made no mention of the Lekki massacre.

Protesters should beware: President Buhari stated that the government had heard the demands of the initial protesters and had hurried to meet those demands with ‘promptness’. He then went on to say it seems the promptness in which they acted was misconstrued as a sign of weakness.

The statement came fully loaded with several connotations. It seemed as though Buhari was giving a clear signal that any sign of resistance would be met with heavy opposition to show that the government was indeed not weak. He also added that protesters should discontinue the protests and join the government in finding solutions; stating that any form of chaos ‘will not be tolerated’- under any circumstances.

The Nigerian Police: The President made no mention of police reform which has been one of the things the #EndSARS protesters have been demanding for days now. He, however, mentioned an ongoing review of police officers’ salaries; stating that action was being carried out on a new salary structure of members of the Nigeria Police.  Buhari’s speech addressed more of things relating to the police force, and he even commiserated with the body on the lives of officers lost. One would think the police force were the actual victims in the past few days.

The government has done a lot, so you shouldn’t complain: In what many termed as going off-topic, Buhari made mention of the ‘wonderful’ initiatives that the government had put in place to cater for women, youths and Nigerians in general. He made mention of Farmermoni, Tradermoni, Marketmoni, N-Power, N-Tech and N-Agro. He also emphasised that no Nigerian Government in the past has been dedicated to poverty-alleviation like his regime and that protesters should engage with such initiatives.

Go about your normal businesses: For many, this has been a truly traumatic and jarring past few days. Without any acknowledgement of the major incidences that have happened, President Muhammadu Buhari has asked us to continue with our day to day to businesses. It is without saying, Nigerians are shocked, and before any semblance of normalcy can ever be restored, it would take quite a bit.



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