By Egena Sunday Ode
The Presidency Wednesday explained that the Federal Government delegation was absent from the planned meeting with governors and stakeholders of the South-south region due to an emergency security meeting called by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Buhari had recently named his Chief of Staff, Professor Ibrahim, as head of the of the Federal Government team that would interact with traditional rulers, religious leaders and youth groups as the administration seeks final resolution of the grievances that led to the #EndSARS protests that left massive destruction in it’s wake.
A statement by the Presidency spokesman, Garba Shebu, noted that the FG delegation was ready to leave for Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital to attend the meeting when they were asked to stay back as that regret for inconveniences was sent to the organizers of the event.
Shehu said the emergency security meeting was called in view of the security challenges facing all parts of the country in the aftermath of the #EndSARS protests.
The statement suggested that the meeting should be rescheduled as President Buhari is eager to hear from leaders and youth on burning issues affecting the country.
The statement read: “The Presidency wishes to explain that the absence of the federal government delegation at the planned meeting with governors and stakeholders of the South-South region was necessitated by an emergency security meeting summoned by the President, certainly not out of disrespect.
“The delegation to the meeting, under the Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, ministers and heads of security and intelligence agencies were in full readiness to proceed to Port Harcourt until they were directed to stay back for the emergency security meeting.
This information and regret for the inconvenience caused were conveyed to the hosts of the meeting through what we believed were the right channels.
“As may have been gleaned from the statement read by the Minister of Police Affairs, Muhammad Maigari Dingyadi, the extraordinary National Security Council meeting, under the President, was called in view of the gravity of the security situation affecting all parts of the country, including the South-South in the aftermath of the ENDSARS protests, and the need to rise to protect our national security and territorial integrity.
“The President is strongly and resolutely committed to hearing from leaders, stakeholders and our youth on burning issues affecting all parts of the federation, and to this effect, a new date for the meeting with the South-South will be agreed after due consultations with the parties concerned.
Once again, the unavoidable postponement of the meeting is regretted.”