By Rotimi Ijikanmi
The Federal Government says 57 civilians, 37 policemen and six Soldiers were killed all over the country during the #EndSARS crisis.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed disclosed this on Thursday in Abuja at a media briefing on the EndSARS protest and its aftermath.
He also said that 196 policemen were injured; 164 police vehicles destroyed and 134 police stations were razed.
The minister said the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, the Nigeria Customs Service and Nigeria Immigration Service all lost infrastructures, equipment and other valuables to attacks by hoodlums during the crisis.
He said eight medium Security custodial centres in six states (Edo, Lagos, Abia, Delta, Ondo and Ebonyi) were attacked, with 1,957 inmates set free and 31 members of staff injured.
The minister said that in the orgy of violence, 269 private/corporate facilities were burnt, looted or vandalised, 243 government facilities burnt and vandalised and 81 government warehouses looted
He frowned at the position of some human rights organisations and media houses which continued to dwell on“ the bodiless and bloodless ‘massacre’ at Lekki Toll Gate’’.
“They became suspect after they simply ignored the brutal killing and maiming of security agents during the crisis.
“They did not see anything wrong in the public and private properties that were burnt or looted, neither did they see anything wrong in the fact that some of the businesses that were looted belonged to struggling young men and women.
“All they could see in their biased view of the whole situation was a hoax massacre,’’ he said.
Mohammed said the federal government is satisfied with the role played by the security agencies, especially the military and the police, all through the EndSARS crisis.
He stressed that the security agents were professional and measured in their response.
“Even when their lives were at stake, they exercised uncommon restraint.
“Their professionalism and measured response saved many lives and properties.
“For example, despite arresting hordes of looters during the violence in Lagos, the army treated them humanely and even counseled them before handing them over to the police.
“The same cannot be said of those who unleashed mayhem on the security agents, killing and maiming them, sometimes in such a barbaric manner that is unprecedented in these parts,’’ he said
Mohammed said it is depressing and demoralising to continue to vilify men and women in uniform, who themselves were victims of senseless violence unleashed by hoodlums.
He said the government will not accept a situation in which some human rights bodies and jaundiced media organisations will continue to harass the security agencies over their roles during the crisis.
The Heads of all information agencies under the ministry of information and culture including the Managing Director, News Agency of Nigeria, Mr Buki Ponle were at the media briefing (NAN)