President for Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari spoke to the nation about the unrest that has enveloped the country in recent days without making any mention of the fatal shooting of peaceful protesters that sparked international outrage.
Buhari called on Nigerians to quit the demonstration and engage with the government in a short televised speech on Thursday. The shootings have been globally condemned, but shockingly he did not speak of them at all during his televised address.
“I would like to appeal to protesters to note and take advantage of the various well thought-out initiatives of this administration designed to make their lives better and more meaningful and resist the temptation of being used by some subversive elements to cause chaos with the aim of truncating our nascent democracy,” President Buhari said in his statement.
“For you to do otherwise will amount to undermining national security and law and order… Under no circumstances would this be tolerated.”
He advised Nigeria youths “to discontinue the street protests and constructively engage the government in finding solutions. Your voice has been heard loud and clear and we are responding”.
On Thursday, gunfire rang out in the affluent Ikoyi neighbourhood of Nigeria’s commercial capital Lagos with witnesses saying assailants attacked a detention facility in the area that is home to government agencies.
Smoke was also noticed climbing from the direction of Ikoyi correctional facility, and trucks carrying police were seen heading towards the prison. The wreckage of a dozen cars smouldered in the upscale Ikoyi neighborhood and two official buildings were on fire.
“The Ikoyi prison is mainly surrounded by government buildings and security establishments. Residents said they saw hoodlums armed with clubs and then gunfire was heard and the fires and smoke were later seen,” said Al Jazeera’s Ahmed Idris, reporting from the capital Abuja.
Other reports suggested the gunfire resulted from an attempted jailbreak by prisoners. It was not clear if any inmates escaped.