'Behave yourselves,' Buhari blames young #EndSARS protesters for scaring investors away

Buhari says the protests made the country insecure and scared away investors.

President Muhammadu Buhari [Bernard Menigault/Alamy]

Hundreds of Nigerians took to the streets last October to peacefully demonstrate against decades of police brutality.

A crackdown by thugs and security operatives led to the death of dozens of protesters, and a post-crackdown breakdown of law and order across the country led to the loss of more lives and massive destruction of property.

The government said 57 civilians, 37 police officers, and six soldiers were killed as a result of the troubles that surrounded the protests.

In an interview with Arise TV aired on Thursday, June 10, 2021, President Buhari said the protests made the country insecure and scared away investors.

"Who will go and invest his money in an unstable environment? Nobody will. It's just common sense.

"So, you behave yourself, you make Nigeria secure, and people will invest," he said.

Buhari had been asked how he hoped to expand on Nigeria's limited economic growth and make the country competitive and attractive for investors.

The problem had been a concern long before last year's demonstrations, and had been squarely blamed on the president's erratic economic policies.

Under the 78-year-old, Nigeria's unemployment rate has skyrocketed to a record 33.3%, and the nation is adjudged the poverty capital of the world with almost half of its estimated 200 million population living in extreme poverty.

The president's recent suspension of American social media service, Twitter, has been noted by critics as another one of his rash policies that plays badly for foreign investors.

The social media giant weeks ago announced that it would site its African base in neighbouring Ghana, even though many of the job listings for the office targeted Nigeria as its biggest market.

The company said it chose Ghana because it was a champion of democracy and a supporter of free speech, online freedom, and the open internet.

Last week's suspension announcement came just days after Twitter deleted a tweet from President Buhari's official account after it was deemed to have violated its rules.

The tweet had been widely reported by Nigerians as harmful after the president appeared to threaten separatist agitators in the south east region with a repeat of the civil war that killed millions between 1967 and 1970.

Some Nigerians have been skirting around the Twitter restriction by using Virtual Private Networks to conceal their IP addresses, and disguise their Nigerian location.

The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, has threatened them with prosecution, but failed to clearly outline the crime committed.

When asked about the suspension during Thursday's interview, Buhari refused to comment.


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