President Muhammadu Buhari said on Friday the Federal Government’s acceptance of the #EndSARS campaigners’ demands emboldened them to become violent.
The president, according to a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina , stated this during a virtual meeting with Nigerian leaders.
Those at the meeting were former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, ex-Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon (retd); former military president, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida (retd.); ex-Head of the Interim National Government (ING), Chief Ernest Shonekan and former Head of State, Gen. Abulsalami Abubakar (retd).
President Buhari 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.
“Instead, they became emboldened and gradually turned violent.”
He lamented that many lives had been lost, and a number of public and private properties completely destroyed or vandalized during the ensuing mayhem.
He added: “We 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.”
Buhari told his predecessors that it was unfortunate that the initial genuine and well-intended protest of the youths was hijacked and misdirected.
Buhari reiterated that the government would not fold its arms and allow miscreants and criminals to continue to perpetrate acts of hooliganism in the country.