President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR (right), and Former Nigerian Leaders Photo: Channels TV

#EndSARS Protests: Ex-leaders urge Buhari to increase youth engagement, job creation to curb restiveness

*Buhari reveals 69 people were killed in protests against Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of Nigeria Police in 13 states and FCT

*Former Nigerian leaders emphasise the importance of respecting the fundamental rights of citizens, including peaceful protest as enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution.

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

As a strategy of encouraging the Nigerian youths to pursue peaceful means in seeking redress, former leaders have advised President Muhammadu Buhari to engage in further beneficial conversation with the youths and other stakeholders towards addressing the issues raised in the light of #EndSARS protest marches across the country.

The erstwhile Presidents and Heads of State stated this Friday, October 23 during a virtual meeting with President Buhari on the anti-Police protests and attendant consequences of the continued demonstrations.

ConsumerConnect reports the emergency meeting with former leaders was convened towards exploring ways to end the ongoing unrest across the country.

Mr. Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, who disclosed the details of the meeting in a statement, said the former leaders agreed that creation of employment opportunities and economic growth, including through Foreign Direct Investments in order to checkmate youth restiveness in Nigeria.

The statement revealed General Yakubu Gowon (Rtd), Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, General Ibrahim Babangida (Rtd), Chief Ernest Shonekan, General Abulsalami Abubakar (Rtd) and Dr. Goodluck Jonathan participated in the virtual meeting with the President.

Adesina stressed the ex-leaders also condoled with the bereaved families of civilians and security operatives who lost their lives to the violence recorded in various parts of the country.

The past Presidents and Heads of State emphasised the importance of respecting the fundamental rights of citizens, including peaceful protest as enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution.

They decried the divisive and inciting pronouncements of separatists, and the need to stop such acts.

The erstwhile Presidents and Heads of State extolled the actions the governors’ efforts at addressing the demands of #EndSARS protesters and checking the excesses of those who perpetrated violent acts and conducts during the crisis period.

They, however, urged the youths to pursue peaceful means in seeking redress through engagement with the government.

The former leaders equally advised the government to engage in further conversation with the youths and other stakeholders in the country in order to ensure the issues raised were properly addressed.

Buhari acknowledged that the youths’ genuine and well-intended #EndSARS protests against the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

The President, however, remarked that the protest was hijacked and misdirected, and that the Federal Government would not fold arms and allow miscreants and outright criminals continue to perpetrate acts of hooliganism in the country.

There were attacks on 205 critical national infrastructure and other corporate and private properties in 14 states of the Federation, said he.

According to him, these are Lagos, Edo, Delta, Oyo, Kano, Plateau, Osun, Ondo, Ogun, Rivers, Abia, Imo, Ekiti and Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

He also revealed that at least 69 people were killed in protests against the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police.

The deaths included 51 civilians, 11 Police officers and seven soldiers besides 37 people that were injured, he stated.

The President added that “a total of nine firearms, including seven AK 47 rifles were carted away during attacks on police stations. Several thousands of inmates were freed during attacks on correctional centres in Edo, Ondo and Lagos states.

“The mayhem has not stopped. Throughout the disturbances, security agencies observed extreme restraint.”

He related the initial concessions his administration made on the demands of youths condemning the excesses of some members of the disbanded SARS.

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