Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja

The Presidency on Wednesday explained that the absence of the Federal Government delegation at the planned meeting with governors and stakeholders of the South-South region was stalled due to an emergency national security council meeting summoned by the President Muhammadu Buhari.

This is even as it appealed that the absence of the delegation led the Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, was certainly not out of disrespect.

According to a statement by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the Presidency explained that: ‘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.

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‘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.’