Lekki Tollgate: FG Breaks Silence, Reveals Next Action
Following recent Lagos protest, Minister of Defence Maj Gen Bashir Salihi Magashi (rtd) on Saturday said the Nigerian government will not sit down and watch hoodlums and criminals destroy lives and vandalise properties under the guise of #ENDSARS2 protest.
“We will maintain the law and peace of this country to the best of our ability. We can use force when it is required,” he warned.
Gen Magashi spoke to reporters in Kano State after revalidating his membership with the All Progressives Congress (APC).
While reacting to members of the #OccupyLekkiTollgate and #ENDSARS2 groups who vowed to protest on Saturday in spite of warnings by the Federal Governments, Magashi said it was the basic responsibility of the government to protect every Nigerian -whoever he is.
He added that given the necessary intelligence, no agent of government should sit down and fold his arms without doing anything.
“Whoever is involved in this #EndSARS issue, the military and the government will not allow it to happen. We will be as good as any other citizen to protect this country.
“We are not going to be harsh on anybody. We will maintain the law and peace to the best of our ability. We can use force when it is required. When we say ‘use force,’ we don’t mean go and start killing people.
“We can use minimum force in commiserating with what is seen on the ground. And that is where some people are getting it wrong.
“We can not sit down and then watch you shoot somebody and we allow you to go free because somebody thinks you are one who can kill and go away.
“Please give us time, in this country, we are in a state where we want everybody to look up and see what you can do for this country, not what the country can do for you.
“This #EndSARS issue, if you recall, the Minister of Information had briefed this nation and alerted that something like this is coming, and we know we are always prepared -this is our job -to ensure internal security.
“We must plan for it. We don’t want to be taken by surprise. And if you want us to be taken by surprise, then, there is no need to call us protectors. If EndSARS is to take place today, we will ensure that we have peaceful counter plans that we will put in place to ensure that mistakes are not made in protecting the people.
“You know the composition of the EndSARS crowd. Over 60 per cent of them are people who don’t even know why they are there. They just come to take part. Some of them are rogues, some are there to steal. They want to do whatever they think. The actual ones are few.
“And for the genuine ones, we want to get them enlightened. They should stop doing things that will create collateral damage for the country. We need people who will sit down and use their brain -sit down with the government and see what we can do.
“We asked them what their problems are. In the initial stage, when they said these are their problems, even Mr. President spoke. They gave 5-point demands which have been attended to. But if some people want the country to be governed the way they want, we will not allow that. We are not elected to serve a particular person. We were elected to serve the entire country,” Gen Magashi said.