By Our Reporters
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari spoke to the nation for the first time since two weeks of protests, warning that undermining national security won’t be tolerated while silent on the army’s shooting of protesters.
“Your voice has been heard loud and clear and we are responding,” Buhari said in speech during which he listed his government’s steps to alleviate poverty while urging an end to the protests.
“This government respects and will continue to respect all the democratic rights and civil liberties of the people, but it will not allow anybody or groups to disrupt the peace of our nation, ” the president warned.
He didn’t specifically address the shooting of unarmed protesters by soldiers at the Lekki toll gate in Lagos that was caught on amateur video. Buhari however expressed regret for the loss of innocent lives and paid tribute to service men killed in the disturbances.
Across much of the country, an uneasy calm prevailed, amid heightened ethnic tension triggered by allegedly state-sponsored thugs that carried out sectional attacks in a desperate bid to derail the protests.
More than half of Nigeria’s 36 states have imposed curfews and other movement restrictions to contain widespread riots. At least 20 police stations in different parts of the country irate rioters.