Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his speech on Thursday night following calls for him to address the nation.
Speaking during a virtual meeting of former Heads of State, the two-time President urged President Buhari to ensure that the demands of protesters are implemented in good time.
Obasanjo noted that Nigerians have a constitutional right to protest and should be allowed to exercise this right as it is part of the democratic system.
“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,” Chief Obasanjo said.
President Buhari had brief the former Heads of State of his police reforms and how he is working to ensure police brutality is ended across the country.
He noted that the protests against the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) by Nigerian youths was hijacked and misdirected.
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 declared: “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.”
In attendance at the meeting were all living past leaders, including: Gen. Yakubu Gowon, Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, Chief Ernest Shonekan, Gen. Abulsalami Abubakar, and former President Goodluck Jonathan.