The Presidency says the absence of the federal government delegation at the planned meeting with governors and stakeholders of the South-South region was necessitated by Tuesday’s emergency security meeting summoned by President Muhammadu Buhari.
According to a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in Abuja on Wednesday, the postponement was “certainly not out of disrespect’’.
He said the delegation to the meeting, under the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. 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 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,’’ he said.
According to the presidential aide, the president is strongly and resolutely committed to hearing from leaders, stakeholders and youth on burning issues affecting all parts of the federation.
He, therefore, stated that a new date for the meeting with the South-South would be agreed after due consultations with the parties concerned.
“Once again, the unavoidable postponement of the meeting is regretted,’’ he added.