The Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) has said that the mindless arson and looting in some parts of the country are acts that do not represent the true Nigerian spirit.
In a statement signed by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke, BMO said it was shocking to see massive destruction of public facilities and break-in into other people’s property.
“Like many Nigerians, we are shocked to see the orgy of violence visited on public and private property in some parts of the country in the aftermath of protests over police brutality.
“We consider it un-Nigerian to destroy public facilities to the extent that N1tn would be required to rebuild damaged infrastructure in a place like Lagos state or to break into people’s homes and businesses like what was witnessed in some parts of the country.
“Some of these private businesses belong to Nigerians and foreigners in some cases who have nothing to do with the issues at stake and we struggle to understand why they should be looted and destroyed.
“While lending our voices to President Muhammadu Buhari’s assurances of justice for victims of EndSARS protests, we are concerned that the scale of looting recorded in the last few days could erode the confidence of foreign investors.
“Indeed some of what we saw in recent days were unexplainable, like the looting of a psychiatric hospital in Cross Rivers state and the jailbreaks.
“For many right-thinking Nigerians, it would be wrong to blame it all on poverty as there are signs that states with the highest poverty density according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) did not record looting of private or public property,” it added.
BMO noted that since President Buhari assumed office, he has been taking sure and steady steps to reduce the poverty level in the country.
The group said: “ it is not a coincidence that NBS figures which have also been validated by the World Bank in the last 15 years showed that the country has fewer people living below the poverty threshold today than at least 10 years ago.
“We see this as a reflection of the measures and policies put in place by the Buhari administration including the bold and ambitious plan to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years; the creation of N75 billion National Youth Investment Fund to provide opportunities for the youths, among numerous other empowerment schemes
“Only recently, the Federal Government came up with the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Survival Fund, through which it is paying three months’ salaries of staff of 100,000 micro, small – and medium – enterprises as well as giving a grant of N30,000 to 100,000 to artisans; and guaranteeing a market for the products of traders.
“All these are in addition to what has been described as Sub-Saharan Africa’s largest social welfare scheme, the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) which was introduced in President Buhari’s first term.
“We dare say that no previous administration has methodically approached poverty-alleviation like this government has done and we urge young Nigerians to take a second look at the various opportunities and latch on to them.
“We agree that there is anger in the land especially with the economic situation as a result of the effect of COVID-19 but there is no way it could be assuaged through wanton destruction of property that could further worsen the economy and deter local and foreign investment.”
BMO also appealed for calm and reassured Nigerians that President Buhari remains committed to ensuring justice for all victims of the protests.