Ahead of the second round of #Endsars protest, the President , Muhammadu Buhari has warned criminals against hiding behind lawful and peaceful protests to disrupt peace and order in the country.
The president issued the warning on Monday while virtually declaring open the chief of army staff’s annual conference 2020.
The president said anyone found wanting will be dealt with decisively, adding that peace and stability in the country is not debatable.
It would be recalled that in October, the #EndSARS protest took place across different locations in the country for over two weeks.
The protest later turned bloody leading to loss of lives and destruction of property.
President Buhari, however, used the occasion to commend the Nigerian armed forces for their efforts at restoring law and order in various states during unrest.
He described the year as a very challenging one, citing the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the economy.
Buhari said: ”Despite this, I am pleased to note that the Army remained resolute in the discharge of its Constitutional roles and in keeping the wealth and welfare of our soldiers a priority.
”The Army’s support of Civil Authorities in the management of the COVID – 19 Pandemic is a case in point.
”Also, the peaceful elections conducted in Edo and Ondo States would not have been achieved without the high level of professionalism displayed by all security agencies, including the Army,” he said at the conference themed “Human Capacity Development in Sustaining Professionalism and Responsiveness of the Nigerian Army in the Discharge of its Constitutional Roles.”
He commended the army for its commitment towards curtailing the activities of insurgents, armed bandits, kidnappers, cattle rustlers and other criminals through ongoing exercises and operations in different parts of the country.
”I have also been briefed about the tremendous successes that have been achieved by troops during the ongoing Operation FIRE BALL in the North East,” he said.
”I charge you all to sustain these efforts until the full restoration of peace and security in the nation is achieved.”
The president paid his tribute to military officers who lost their lives on duty while commiserating with their families, comrades and friends.
He pledged that his administration will not relent in its efforts to take adequate care of families of fallen heroes.
”It is in line with this that the Army as part of its welfare initiative and in line with the Federal Government’s housing programme is undertaking the Housing Scheme for families and next of kin of troops that were killed in action in the fight against insurgency and other criminalities in the country,” he said.
”I believe this initiative will act as a huge morale booster to the troops on the frontlines as well as project the Army in good light.
”On our part, I assure you that this administration will continue to do all within available means to provide for your operational and welfare needs.