President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday said he was committed to seeing young people prosper in Nigeria and reiterated his administration’s promise to fulfill the five key requests demanded by #EndSARS protesters last October.
The President voiced this position during a New Year message broadcast to Nigerians home and abroad.
“In this journey to nationhood, we have experienced the highs and lows,” President Buhari said. “2020 indeed came with a lot of challenges ranging from security and economic issues across the regions to understandable protests that were mainly led by our youths and served notice to the demand for police reforms and accountability.
“This government heard, this government listened and this government is committed to fulfilling the five demands of our youths, fully understanding that we all wish well for Nigeria.”
The five demands of the #EndSARS protesters include the immediate release of all arrested protesters; Justice for all deceased victims of police brutality and appropriate compensations for their families; Setting up an independent body to oversee the investigation and prosecution of all reported police misconduct within a period of 10 days; Carrying out psychological evaluation and retaining of all disbanded SARS operatives before they can be deployed (this should be verified by an independent body); and the increase of police salary and compensation.
In his New Year message, the President stressed that young people were key to the future of Nigeria.
“Our young people are our most valuable natural resource, at home and abroad,” he said. “Their ingenuity, creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurial spirit is evident to all. Many of our young people are excelling in various spheres of life including sports, entertainment, information and communication technology, commerce, and are globally recognized as achievers.
“As a Government, we are committed to actively engaging with the creative energies of our young people. In this regard, we will partner with the legislature to develop an enabling environment to turn their passions into ideas that can be supported, groomed, and scaled across regions. This will create vast opportunities in fintech, agriculture, business process startups, and in the entertainment industry.”