The generation of employment and economic growth, including through direct foreign investments are critical to checking youth restiveness in the country.

This was the unanimous position of former Nigerian presidents and heads of state on Friday at a virtual meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on the #EndSARS protest and various happenings resulting from the demonstration.

Those in attendance were General Yakubu Gowon (rtd), Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, General Ibrahim Babangida (rtd), Chief Ernest Shonekan, General Abulsalami Abubakar (rtd), and Dr Goodluck Jonathan.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, disclosed the details of what was discussed at the meeting in a statement.

According to him, the former leaders condoled with the bereaved families of civilians and security operatives who lost their lives to the violence recorded in parts of the country.

They stressed the importance of respecting the fundamental rights of citizens, including peaceful protest as enshrined in the Constitution.

The elder statesmen condemned the divisive and inciting pronouncements of separatists, stressing that such acts should be stopped.

They, however, commended the actions taken by state governors to address the demands of #EndSARS protesters and their efforts to check the excesses of those who perpetrated violent acts and conduct.

The former leaders also called on the youths to pursue peaceful means in seeking redress through engagement with the government.

They advised the government to engage in further conversation with the youths and other stakeholders in the country to ensure the issues raised were properly addressed.

In his remarks, President Buhari noted the genuine and well-intended #EndSARS protest of youths in parts of the country against the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

But he said the protest was hijacked and misdirected and that the Federal Government would not fold its arms and allow miscreants and criminals continue to perpetrate acts of hooliganism.

The President also recounted the initial concessions made by his administration on the demands of youths condemning the excesses of some members of the SARS.

He recalled that the protesters had demanded that the squad be disbanded, and further articulated the additional demands.