Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (rtd.), says that over 60 per cent of #EndSARS protesters don’t know why they participated in the demonstrations, alleged that over 60 per cent of the protesters were rogues and thieves.
The #EndSARS protests recommenced in Lagos on Saturday under the aegis of #OccupyLekkiTollGate, with 40 protesters, including Debo Adebayo, a Nigerian comedian better known as Mr Macaroni, arrested by security operatives. But surprisingly, they were however arraigned before a Mobile Court in Lagos, and granted bail.
They protested despite the threat by the Lagos Police Command to stop the protest through the massive deployment of detachments of Police at the Toll Plaza, along the Lekki-Epe Expressway in a show of force to stop.
The protest was against the decision of the State Judicial Panel of Enquiry to allow the reopening of the Lekki Tollgate, saying justice is yet to be served on those allegedly killed during the October 20, 2020 shooting at the Lekki Tollgate.
General Magashi, who spoke on Saturday after participating in the revalidation exercise of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kano, said: “There is a basic responsibility of the government, and that is to protect every Nigerian, whoever he is. We always believe that given the necessary intelligence, no agent of government will sit down and fold its hands without doing something.
“This #EndSARS issue, if you recall, the Minister of Information has 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. There are a few actual people (among the protesters).”
The Minister added that the government will not allow “unpatriotic elements” to destabilise the country under any guise.
Magashi said: “The genuine ones, we want to get them enlightened. They should stop doing things that will create collateral damages for the country. We need people who will sit down and use their brains. Sit down with the government and see what we can do.
“We ask them, ‘what are your problems?’ In the initial one, when they said this is their problem, even Mr. President spoke. They gave five-point demand and they were attended to. But if some people want the country to be governed the way they want, we are not elected to serve particular people. We were elected to serve this country.”