Nigeria: IPOB, Other Secessionists Hijacked Protests - NEC

27 October 2020

The National Economic Council yesterday rose from its emergency meeting and declared that the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and other secessionist had hijacked demonstrations and caused mayhem and lawlessness across the country.

Hoodlums had reportedly taken advantage of the #EndSARS protests to attack and loot public and private assets causing loss of lives and property across the nation.

The NEC, chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, in the communique issued after the virtual meeting, said it reviewed the activities of the IPOB and other secessionist groups, stressing that these subterranean and violent tendencies must be quickly addressed given that they had "continually hijacked demonstrations and caused mayhem and lawlessness across parts of the country."

The NEC attributed the civil unrest witnessed in the country in the last few weeks to economic issues, saying good governance and improved service delivery remained the fundamental panacea to social tensions in the country.

The council added that social welfare must be given greater priority in the first instance.

The council agreed to embark on an objective framing of a new security and stability architecture for the country supported by the development of a framework of engagement with the youth, civil society and religious leaders.

It said the framework for national unity would engage with security agencies that will devolve more control to state governors who are the chief security officers of their states.

Meanwhile, the council resolved that Osinbajo lead a committee constituted to address the "deeper" issues behind the #EndSARS protest and its fallouts.

The committee is to engage the youth, representatives of civil society organizations, religious and traditional leaders on employment, social safety net programmes and national unity, among other key issues of concern.

Members of the committee are the governors of Sokoto, Borno, Niger, Ondo, Ebonyi and Delta States, representing the six geopolitical zones.

The committee, which is to commence work immediately, will develop a comprehensive framework under the auspices of the NEC that will coordinate joint actions and steps to be taken by both the federal and state governments to examine the fundamental issues underlining the protests and arrive at effective solutions, including how to enhance Nigeria's national security.

The NEC backed President Muhammadu Buhari's commitment to a complete overhaul of the nation's security services.

The council also lauded the Nigerian Police Force and security agencies for their handling of the disturbances in some states of the federation, stressing that most members of the Nigerian security personnel were law abiding and capable of restoring law and order in the country.

The NEC enjoined the CACOVID leadership to come out with an independent statement on the status of the distribution of palliatives donated to states to unravel the circumstances behind the delay in the distribution of food items domiciled in warehouses across the country.

It said it involved a framework for federal support to provide compensation for those who had incurred losses in the last few weeks and a framework for social security to deal with the problem of unemployment and poverty in the country.

The council decried the irresponsible use of social media in fueling misinformation and increasing social tensions.

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