MINISTER of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has blamed fake news, social media and unbalanced coverage of the recent #EndSARS protests for the sagging morale among security agents and worsening insecurity in the country.
According to him, the mainstream media abandoned reportage of the protests to the social media, which in their sensationalism twisted the reports causing the country avoidable trouble.
Lamenting that the killings and brutality meted to security agents during the protests were poorly reported, he said: “Now, this is hunting all of us. Wittingly or unwittingly, we have succeeded in scaring policemen off their beats.
Today, many of them are even afraid to wear their uniform. And the result has not been pleasant, in terms of security of life and property.” Alhaji Mohammed, spoke yesterday in Lagos at a meeting with editors.
The meeting is part of engagements with stakeholders in the wake of the #EndSARS crisis to review what transpired during the protest, the subsequent crisis, and draw necessary lessons with a view to forestalling a recurrence given the violence that followed the hijack of the peaceful protest.
Noting that the #EndSARS protest was aimed at protesting police brutality and, consequently, to demand the disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS among others, the ministers decried the hijack of the protests.
According to him, as the government met the initial five demands of the protesters and taken other measures to improve the Police salary and wages, the protesters continued the protests and enlarged their demands.
Listing the various measures the government took to meet the demands of the protesters, he said: “Despite meeting the five demands, the protesters continued with their protests while their demands kept expanding, until the protest was hijacked, leading to unprecedented violence characterized by killings, maiming, arson, looting etc.”