President Muhammadu Buhari, on Friday, said the Federal Government would engage the services of members of the National Youth Service Corps to champion the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals 2030 at the grassroots.2

Barely 24 hours after presiding over a National Security Council at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, which was followed by a national live broadcast, allowing the nationwide EndSARS protests, President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, met with former Nigeria leaders, promising to improve governance through the democratic process and sustained engagement.

The virtual meeting, which started at 09:00 GMT, had all living past leaders, including Gen. Yakubu Gowon (rtd.), President Olusegun Obasanjo, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida (rtd.), Chief Ernest Shonekan, Gen. Abulsalami Abubakar (rtd.), and former President Goodluck Jonathan in attendance.

Also at the Council Chambers with President Buhari were Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Secretary to Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, Chief of Staff to the
President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari and the National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd). Others include the Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olanisakin, Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, Director General, Department of State Services, Yusuf Bichi, and Director-General, National Intelligence Agency, Ahmed Rufai.

Briefing the leaders on the events that have unfolded as a result of the protests in the past few days, which had put the nation in the eye of the storm globally, President Buhari admitted that the EndSARS protests by the concern that in the mayhem that later ensued following the hijack of the protest, many lives had been lost, and a number of public and private properties completely destroyed or vandalised. He said the Government could, however, not fold its arms and allow miscreants and criminals to continue to perpetrate acts of hooliganism in the country.

Reiterating his pledge to Nigerians from the nationwide broadcast late Thursday, the President told the ex-leaders that his administration “will continue to improve good governance through our democratic process including through sustained engagement.”

“We shall also continue to ensure that liberty and freedom, as well as the fundamental rights of all citizens are protected. Here, I want to also reaffirm our commitment to
preserving the unity of this country,” he added.

The President thanked the former Heads of State for attending the meeting and for their invaluable comments, observations, and advice, adding that, “Nigerians expect nothing less from responsible statesmen.”

Each of the former leaders commended President Buhari for steps taken so far to restore calm and order to the country and also applauded the presidential broadcast of Thursday as detailed and soothing to the country.

“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,” former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo said.

unfortunate. It noted that Police officers were also Nigerians that have sacrificed their lives and comfort for the safety of citizens and their properties and deserve nothing but commendation, support, and encouragement.

On another hand, the Minority Caucus in the House of Representatives expressed disappointment with President Buhari over his refusal to address the killing of innocent and unarmed protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate in his address to the nation.

Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Mr Ndudi Elumelu, claimed that the President failed to show empathy for those killed by unscrupulous security operatives during the protest.


The caucus noted: “Indeed, the expectation across the country was for Mr. President to reassure Nigerians, especially the youths by forcefully condemning the killing and brutalisation of our young ones, announcing an accelerated independent inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the gruesome acts and setting a clear pathway for the much-needed overhaul of our security system.

The much-desired national healing, peace, unity, and stability of our nation anchors on such a show of concern and commitment by leaders. This is in addition to an inquiry into videos and reports that unscrupulous security operatives mobilised thugs to attack peaceful protesters and unleash violence on innocent Nigerians. Those behind such shameful act that escalated sectional hostilities and pitched citizens against one another should be brought to book.”

The lawmakers urged President Buhari to immediately set up an independent inquiry into the killings with a view to prosecuting and bringing the perpetrators to book.

President Buhari, during the meeting, recounted the initial concessions made by his administration on the demands of youths protesting the excesses of some members of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad unit of the Nigeria Police Force.

The youths had demanded that the squad be disbanded, in addition to the immediate release of all arrested protesters, justice for deceased victims of police brutality and appropriate compensation for their families, the setting up an independent body to oversee the investigation and prosecution of all reports of Police misconduct within 10 days, the psychological evaluation and re-training of all disbanded SARS officers before they can be re-deployed; and an increase in Police salary.

The President said: “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.”

President Buhari expressed concern that in the mayhem that later ensued following the hijack of the protest, many lives had been lost, and a number of public and private properties completely destroyed or vandalised.

He said the Government could, however, not fold its arms and allow miscreants and criminals to continue to perpetrate acts of hooliganism in the country.

Reiterating his pledge to Nigerians from the nationwide broadcast late Thursday, the President told the ex-leaders that his administration “will continue to improve good governance through our democratic process including through sustained engagement.”

“We shall also continue to ensure that liberty and freedom, as well as the fundamental rights of all citizens are protected. Here, I want to also reaffirm our commitment to preserving the unity of this country,” he added.

The President thanked the former Heads of State for attending the meeting and for their invaluable comments, observations, and advice, adding that, “Nigerians expect nothing less from responsible statesmen.”

Each of the former leaders commended President Buhari for steps taken so far to restore calm and order to the country and also applauded the presidential broadcast of Thursday as detailed and soothing to the country.

“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,” former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo said.

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