Presidential aide, Femi Adesina has shed light on the meeting between Nigeria’s former heads of state and President Muhammadu Buhari.
Adesina who spoke on Friday, said the #EndSARS protests and other national issues were discussed during the parley.
“Lives had been lost in scores, countless public and private properties burnt, there was murder and mayhem everywhere,” Adesina explained in a post on his website captioned “Inside PMB’s Parley With Former Heads of State.”
“So, it was needful that all former leaders of the country meet to put heads together, and fashion pragmatic ways forward.”
He applauded the former leaders for turning out for their motherland, saying their cumulative experience came handy especially as the country tried to restore law and order.
“All that weight of experience was available at the meeting on that day, for the country to draw from, in restoring peace and cohesion after about two angry weeks,” he added.
According to Adesina, former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon who gave the opening speech agreed that the #EndSARS protests which began peacefully, was later hijacked by some “organized miscreants.”
“Drawing from experiences in 1967, before the Nigerian Civil War, Gen Gowon gave some recipes for the government to consider,” the presidential aide quoted Gowon as saying.
He said President Buhari who spoke next, gave details of how the protests began, and efforts made by the government to address the demands of the demonstrators.
Buhari, he said, “did not mince words that what started as [a] legitimate protest by youths, was hijacked and misdirected by enemies of the country.”
He described former President Obasanjo as Frank but affable . According to him no tension was discerned and he ” lauded the Nigerian leader for his speech the previous night.”
On the job and economic situation in the country, he said the interventions being made were good, but not far-reaching enough for a population of 200 million people,” Adesina who was sworn-in as special adviser on media and publicity to Buhari on August 31, 2015, said, referencing Obasanjo.
On his part, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB) who expressed sadness at the turn of events in Africa’s most populous nation, extended his condolences to those who lost loved ones and properties.
IBB expressed worry at the quality of intelligence available to Nigerian security agencies, and commended “the government for the efforts so far, to end the protests.”
Chief Ernest Shonekan, who according to Adesina was brief in his speech ,called for proactiveness to curb similar developments in the future, stressing that such meetings should hold often to proffer solutions to national issues.
General Abdulsalami Abubakar who was present at the meeting also harped on the need for better intelligence on the part of security agencies and espressed believe that there is a need for more collaboration with the international body.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan, raised some fundamental questions though he hailed President Buhari for his speech.
The former Bayelsa State Governor said posers like “what led to the crisis?” would help the country in forestalling future occurrences, and admitted that the root cause of the crisis had been with Nigeria.
The protest that necessitated the meeting started when young Nigerians took to the streets, demanding the scrapping of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a unit of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) accused of many atrocities over the past few years.