The Presidency has explained reason the federal government delegation was absent at the planned meeting with governors and stakeholders of the South-South region on Tuesday.
It said their absence was certainly not out of disrespect, but was necessitated by an emergency security meeting summoned by the President.
A statement released by President Muhammadu Buhari’s media aide, Garba Shehu, on Thursday morning and obtained by VANTAGE NEWS, explained that 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.
Shehu stated that this information and regret for the inconvenience caused were conveyed to the hosts of the meeting through what we believed were the right channels.
The statement read in part, “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.”
VANTAGE NEWS reported that angry Governors and leaders of the South-South geopolitical region demanded an unreserved apology from the presidency for abruptly aborting a crucial stakeholders meeting scheduled to hold in Port Harcourt on Tuesday.
The presidency had fixed a meeting for Tuesday with the Governors and other leaders of the region to discuss burning national issues affecting the region and the aftermath effects of the EndSARS protest, but later failed to make it to the meeting.
The leaders of the region had stated that the failure of the Presidency to attend the meeting call at their instance shows federal government disregard for the region, and that the action was a big insult to the region.