Mr Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity said that the vandalisation, looting of COVID-19 palliatives and shops by thugs was not caused by poverty in the country but by the #EndSARS protest.
Adesina said on Thursday on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme, that attributing the looting to poverty was like justifying armed robbery.
In his words, “Criminality is criminality. Would it justify armed robbery because the man was poor? Would it justify armed robbery because the man didn’t have money? Just as you cannot justify armed robbery because a man was poor and took a gun to rob another person, you can’t also justify the looting.”
The president’s media aide claimed the protracted protests provided an atmosphere for looting to take place. He stressed that if police stations were not burnt down, there wouldn’t have been a breakdown of law and order.
Adesina said, “Criminality will always be criminality and mere anarchy promotes criminality. What has happened in the last two or three weeks led to what has happened now. If there was cohesion and tranquillity in society, this wouldn’t happen.
“Therefore, it was corollary to the mere anarchic situation that came on the country because of the protests. If you didn’t have people burning police stations, killing policemen, burning private and public property, you wouldn’t have this spate of looting.
“So, I don’t agree that it is all about poverty. Yes, in any country, you will have at any given time, you will have people who are poor, who are hungry and that is one of the reasons why you have government is to ensure that the number of poor and hungry people is reduced.”
When challenged with the fact that Nigeria had become the poverty capital of the world, the President’s spokesman said the high level of poverty was caused by 60 years of mismanagement of public funds which could not easily be addressed in two years.
According to Adesina, President Muhammadu Buhari was committed to leaving a legacy that would see that 100 million Nigerians are lifted out of poverty in the next 10 years.