By Ismaila Chafe
Abuja, Oct. 23, 2020 Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has described as a welcome development the Thursday broadcast of President Muhammadu Buhari on the ENDSARS protests in some parts of the country.
Obasanjo made the commendation during a virtual meeting between Buhari and former Nigerian leaders on Friday.
Mr Femi Adesina, the president’s spokesman, confirmed this development in a statement in Abuja.
Obasanjo said: ”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.’’
Adesina said 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.
The former Nigerian leaders reaffirmed the commitment to respect the fundamental rights of citizens, including for peaceful protest as enshrined in the Constitution.
“They also condemned the divisive and inciting pronouncements of separatists, and were of the opinion that such acts should be stopped.
“Equally, the former Leaders commended the actions taken by state Governors to address the demands of the #ENDSARS protesters, and their efforts to check the excesses of those who perpetrated violent acts and conduct.
“Finally, they 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,’’ the presidential aide revealed.
Those at the virtual meeting included all living past leaders, namely; Gen. Yakubu Gowon, Olusegun Obasanjo, Ibrahim Babangida, Ernest Shonekan, Abulsalami Abubakar, and former President Goodluck Jonathan.