Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria: Jonathan Reschedules Meeting With Governors on Security Matters

Photo: Leadership
Burnt-out busses after an attack at a bus station packed with morning commuters in Abuja

The expanded National Security Council meeting with all State governors summoned by President Goodluck Jonathan has been rescheduled for April 23.

Gov. Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom and Chairman of PDP Governors' Forum, announced this to State House correspondents on Thursday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Akpabio spoke to correspondents after a two-hour closed-door meeting of the governors of the 20 PDP, Labour Party and APGA controlled states with national security chiefs, presided over by the president. ‎

The governor said that the president rescheduled the meeting to enable all the 36 state governors, including those of the APC-controlled state to attend.

"This meeting is a fall out of our meeting which we held with PDP governors and we felt that there was a need for us‎ to meet the president and the security chiefs.

"Mr. President has listened to us and even said that since it is a problem that involves all the states of‎ the federation, It is better for all the state governors to be in attendance.

"Because of that, he has graciously agreed to meet with all the 36 states of the federation on Wednesday by 4 p.m.

"Of course, you know we are very much concerned first as PDP governors and the center belongs to the PDP and so we felt that we should see our dear president and if need be, with some of the security chiefs.

"He has graciously listened to us and he said since it is a national issue, we must have all the 36 governors in attendance.

"So I believe strongly that notice will be going out and all governors will ‎be meeting with Mr. President and service chiefs next week Wednesday; so we can sit and discuss and proffer solutions to the current insecurity in the country," he said.

Asked whether the meeting discussed the possible extension of the state of emergency in the three North-East states of Adamawa, Yobe and Borno, Akpabio said not at all.

"The president did not go into details with us.

"Of course, you know that is a national issue and if you are to discuss it, you can't shave a man's head behind him.

"The governors of the states that are involved in emergency are not here.

"So, I believe that issue will be taken on when all the governors are around on Wednesday," he said.

When asked whether the APC governors boycotted the meeting, Akpabio said "no, they were not invited".

"You know there was an initial requisition of this meeting by the PDP governors.

"This was as a fall out of our own meeting and so it was not something that was extended to all and that is why I said they have been invited on Wednesday. ‎

"We just wanted to meet with our president and some service chiefs to hear our views and also make some suggestions.

"Now, the president is insisting, which is right too, that it is a national issue because it must be handled nationally and that is why all the governors must be here,"

On why the governors of Ondo, Olusegun Mimiko and Anambra, Willy Obianor who are from Labour Party and APGA respectively attended the meeting, Akpabio said he personally extended invitation to them.

The governor expressed the assurance that the governors from the APC controlled States would attend the rescheduled meeting.

"I do not think there is a governor who will not love to be here‎ to also add his voice and suggestion and how we can tackle the current situation.

"We must face the situation and it is not something we can politicise; you don't politicise security.

"All hands must be on deck; the entire country, every single Nigerian must contribute his or her own quota towards bringing the current situation to an end.

"Everybody is affected, and there is no way any governor in Nigeria will not be concerned and will not show interest in bringing this situation to an end," he said.

The governors at the meeting include Gabriel Suswan (Benue), Martin Elechi (Ebonyi), Ramalan Yero (Kaduna), Isa Yuguda (Bauchi), Theodore Orji (Abia) and Ibrahim Dankwanbo (Gombe).

Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom), Liyel Imoke (Cross River), Willie Obiano (Anambra), Idris Wada (Kogi), Ibrahim Shema (Katsina) and Jonah Jang (Plateau) also attended.

Others are Emmanuel Uduaghan (Delta), Sule Lamido (Jigawa), Sullivan Chime (Enugu), Babangida Aliyu (Niger), Olusegun Mimiko (Ondo) and Acting Governor of Taraba, Garba Umar.

The deputy governors of Bayelsa and Kebbi also attended the meeting.

The Minister of Defence, Lt.-Gen. Aliyu Gusau (rtd.); the National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki; the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar and the Director-General of State Security Service (SSS), Ita Ekpeyong, attended the meeting.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Anyim Pius Anyim; the Minister of Interior, Abba Moro; the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshall Alex Barde and the service chiefs were also at the meeting.

NAN recalled that presidential spokesperson, Reuben Abati, in a statement on Wednesday, said that the president had summoned state governors to an expanded security meeting to be held in the Villa.

Abati had said that the president called the meeting to review the security situation in the country and the current measures and operations.

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