Defence Minister Bashed For Calling #EndSARS Protesters Rogues, Thieves
Defence Minister, Major General Bashir Magashi (retd), has come under intense criticism for calling 60 per cent of #EndSARS protesters rogues and thieves.
Magashi spoke in Kano on Saturday, shortly after revalidating his membership of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Ir was the same day that police arrested 40 #EndSARS protesters, including comedian Debo Adebayo aka Mr Macaroni, at the #LekkiTollGate for protesting against the reopening of the toll gate.
They were subsequently arraigned at a mobile court in Yaba and granted bail.
Reacting, Magashi 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).”
However, the minister’s comment elicited reactions from Nigerians, many of whom expressed dissatisfaction with it.
Taking to Facebook, Benji Tijani Jattu wrote, “That kind of statement coming from the Defense Minister is sad and unfortunate.
“Since he knows the ones that are rogues what has stopped him from arresting them and prosecuting according to the laws of the land?
“Mr defence minister you are an empty barrel who has nothing to offer.”
Us-man Zacks Destiny wrote, “When I heard renowned looters who have brought this nation down to her knees calling people thieves, I laugh in Swahili. God will help us in this country.”
Adenike Fagbemi wrote, “We expect nothing from a tyrant than lies but this generation is well enlightened than you think.
“Stop being ignorant, defence minister.
“Protest is not a crime; take your battle to Sambisa if you’re ready to serve the nation.”
Toyin Adio wrote, “Then who the bandits, killer herdsmen, kidnappers and boko harams? Useless looters”
Mocking the minister, Abiodun Adeoye wrote, “Negotiate and settle them the way Boko Haram and bandits are being settled in the north if they are rogues.
“What is good for the goose is good for the gander.”