The national leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has said the #EndSARS protest, and its fallout, including the shooting of the peaceful protesters at the Lekki tollgate by soldiers, has “complicated matters” for him.
Tinubu lamented that he was first accused of sponsoring the #EndSARS protest, then later accused of sending soldiers to shoot at the protesters at the Lekki tollgate on Tuesday night to disperse them.
He said his political enemies falsely claimed that he sent soldiers to the tollgate because he has financial interest in the tollgate and he was losing revenue due to the prolonged protest.
He, however, described the claims as “complete and terrible lie,” saying they were being sponsored by his political enemies to pit him against the state and the Federal Government.
In a statement on Sunday titled, ‘The #EndSARS protests: A fundamental lesson in democratic governance,’ Tinubu stressed that he neither have investment in the Lekki tollgate nor sent soldiers to disperse the protesters but admitted that “I am, indeed, a promoter and financial investor in The Nation newspaper and TVC.”
He said he got prior information that facilities of both The Nation newspaper and TVC were going to be attacked by “certain malevolent elements” hiding under #EndSARS protests, yet he did not send soldiers or policemen there to prevent the attack, because he didn’t want anyone to die.
“There is no rationale that can adequately explain why I would order soldiers to repel peaceful protesters from the tollgate, where I have no financial interest, yet, choose to do nothing to protect my investments in The Nation and TVC,” Tinubu said.
He said the attacks on TVC and The Nation newspaper were carried out by the “hirelings” of his political enemies.
Tinubu said, “The present situation clearly does nothing to profit me politically or otherwise. It has complicated matters for me because many people now wrongfully blame me for a violent incident in which I played no part. Still, I stand strongly behind the people of Nigeria and affirm their right to protest peacefully.
“Along with all well-meaning, patriotic Nigerians, I want to see an end to all forms of institutionalised brutality and I shall do my utmost to see that this humane objective is realised.”