The Presidency has explained the absence of its representatives in the planned meeting with leaders of the South-South region slated to hold on Tuesday in Port Harcourt.
The leaders have expressed disappointment about the no-show of the federal government officials led by the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari and demanded a public apology.
But in a statement issued by Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media & Publicity) in Abuja on Thursday, the presidency explained that the proposed meeting was disrupted by the emergency security meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja on the same day.
It said the cancellation was communicated through the appropriate channels to the participants and expressed the president’s commitment to hearing from all stakeholders.
The statement read in part: “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.