- President Buhari has met with former heads of state and presidents following the violence trailing the #EndSARS protests
- The president explained to the former leaders how his administration accepted the demands of the protesters
- In their reaction, the former leaders hailed President Buhari for the steps he has taken to restore peace
President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday, October 23, met virtually wit Nigeria's former heads of state over the #EndSARS protests that turned violent across the country.
The president told the former leaders that the initial genuine and well-intended protest of youths in parts of the country against the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) was hijacked and misdirected.
This was contained in a statement released by the president's special adviser on media and publicity.
Legit.ng gathers that President Buhari reiterated that its administration will not fold its arms and allow miscreants and criminals continue to perpetrate acts of hooliganism in the country.
At the meeting were all living past leaders, including: Gen. Yakubu Gowon, President Olusegun Obasanjo, Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, Chief Ernest Shonekan, Gen. Abulsalami Abubakar, and former President Goodluck Jonathan.
The president recounted the initial concessions made by his administration on the demands of youths protesting against the excesses of some members of the SARS.
He recalled that the youths had demanded that the squad be disbanded, and further articulated the additional demands, including:
''The immediate release of all arrested protesters.
''Justice for deceased victims of police brutality and appropriate compensation for their families.
''Setting up an independent body to oversee the investigation and prosecution of all reports of Police misconduct within 10 days.
''Psychological evaluation and re-training of all disbanded SARS officers before they can be re-deployed; and increase in police salary.''
The president said his administration accepted all the demands of the protesters but the y refused to stop the protest.
''We accepted all the demands and proceeded immediately to scrap SARS and started the process of addressing the other demands.
''Unfortunately, the protesters refused to call off the protest and engage the Government to address their grievances. Instead, they became emboldened and gradually turned violent.''
President Buhari expressed concern that in the mayhem that ensued, many lives have been lost, a number of public and private properties completely destroyed or vandalized.
He thanked the former heads of state for attending the meeting and their invaluable comments, observations and advice, adding that ''Nigerians expect nothing less from responsible statesmen.''
The former leaders commended President Buhari for steps taken so far to restore calm and order to the country.
The former heads of state were unanimous in their view that generation of employment and growing the economy including through direct foreign investments were critical to checking youth restiveness.
They also expressed their condolences to the bereaved families of civilians, policemen and soldiers killed as a result of the violent protest, and reaffirmed the commitment to respect the fundamental rights of citizens, including for peaceful protest as enshrined in the Constitution.
Ex-president Obasanjo commended the president for his nationwide broadcast speech on Thursday, October 22.
''I commend the speech of last night. The nation had been waiting. You made points that I believe need to be commended. Peaceful demonstration is part of democratic practice.
"The demands of the genuine protesters were accepted, and you are working on implementation. We commend you."
The former leaders called on youths to pursue peaceful means, in seeking redress through engagement with government and encouraged further conversation with the youths and other stakeholders in the country.
Earlier, Legit.ng reported that a group, Civil Society Groups for Good Governance (CSGGG) commended President Buhari for his nationwide address to Nigerians over the escalating crisis in some parts of the country.
CSGGG convener, Comrade Ogakwu Dominic, in a statement sent to journalists on Friday, October 23 described the president's address to the citizenry as reassuring.
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