Tuesday, April 23, 2024

#EndSARS: Without evidence, Buhari claims seven soldiers killed in protests

Mr. Buhari convened a meeting of security chiefs and former Nigerian leaders at the State House on Friday.

• October 24, 2020
President Muhammadu Buhari (Photo Credit – Garba Shehu facebook page)

President Muhammadu Buhari has claimed seven soldiers were killed during nationwide protests to end the brutal police special anti-robbery squad, his media aide Femi Adesina was cited as saying by the BBC.

But the Nigerian leader did not immediately present evidence to substantiate his claim when he held a meeting with his security chiefs and former presidents on Friday.

The BBC reported that Mr. Adesina said Mr. Buhari told former Nigerian leaders Yakubu Gowon, Olusegun Obasanjo, Abdulsalam Abubakar, Goodluck Jonathan and Ernest Sonekan that 69 people were killed during the unrest.

Fifty-one civilians, 11 police officers and seven soldiers were killed, the president said in his account to the meeting. 

While police officers were killed and their stations razed across the country, it was unclear where the president obtained figures for military casualties. 

The Nigerian Army did not announce any loss of personnel during the violence that broke out after armed thugs targeted #EndSARS protesters across the country. The military largely stayed out of the three-week-long protests until October 20 when Nigerian troops opened fire on protesters as they sang the national anthem in Lekki, Lagos.

President Buhari did not mention the military action in his address to the nation on Thursday evening, despite widespread condemnation and demand for investigation and justice from his administration. 

Critics said the president’s silence on the massacre was an indication that he was involved in its planning and execution. The president’s supporters have pushed back against the claim of his involvement; while ignoring available evidence to falsely claim that there was no massacre in the first place.

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