To make critical decisions soon
Says he won’t watch protest degenerate to anarchy
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru – Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has warned the security agencies to operate within the confines of the law and not to do anything that will aggravate the ongoing protest against police brutality.
President Buhari is also expected to announce a critical solution to the ENDSARS protest in a couple of hours.
This is as the security agencies have been asked to apply to restrain in handling the protesters and the protesting youths also advised not to push their luck too far so as to avoid unwanted situations.
The National Security Adviser, NSA, Major General Babagana Monguno (retd), disclosed this while briefing State House correspondents at the end of the National Security Council meeting presided over by President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The NSA said that in a couple of hours President Buhari will come up with something that would be agreeable to the entire country.
According to him, “This situation, we all know is very very grave situation, giving a lot of concern to everyone most especially Mr. President.
“Mr. President has directed that the government should do whatever is necessary in order to bring about an agreeable resolution to this crisis.
“So far, the government has been able to concede to the demands of the protesters. The initial demands have been considered and it appears now that the riots are taking a different and unwanted dimension. And Mr. President is very concerned about this development and does not want a situation in which everything breaks down and results in anarchy, in lawlessness, and people taking the law into their own hands.
“For one thing, if the government can begin to make concessions, then it’s also logical for the protesters, those that are aggrieved also to take a step back, take stock of their activities and come to a meeting point with government and its agencies.
“It is not Mr. President’s desire to see any unwanted loss of lives and he is determined to ensure that things do not cascade into unpleasant situations.
“Therefore, he has directed all the security agencies to operate within the confines of legitimacy, the confines of legality, not to do anything that will aggravate the situation.”
The NSA said that President Buhari in no distant time takes some critical decisions that would be agreeable to the entire country.
He said, “The President himself, I have just left his office, is also going to deal with these issues in a specific manner apart from what has just taken place in the council. I believe in the next couple of hours Mr. President will come up with certain solutions that will be agreeable to the entire federation.
“Again, I have spoken with my colleagues in security, to also understand that these situations also require non-kinetic efforts which we are also working on, to appease who are aggrieved and there is no need to take this thing further.
“But it is extremely important for the youths to understand that, if the atmosphere is not conducive for dialogue and understanding, we can’t have any peaceful resolution.
“The security agencies have been asked to apply as much restraint as possible. But then again, the youths should also understand that pushing their luck might also result in unwanted issues. So, it is very very important for everyone to take stock of what has already happened and not give a dark impression of this country to the international community.”
Asked what the agreeable resolution will be, the NSA said: “Mr. President is going to look at each issue on its merit before coming up with the solution as the chief security officer of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.“
Also asked if the president was going to address the nation as requested by the National Assembly, Monguno said: “I can’t actually divulge what was said but let’s just wait for Mr. President.”
Fielding question on whether the investigation was going to be carried out on the movement of troops to attack peaceful protesters at Lekki Toll Gate, the NSA said: “The government is looking into the incident that happened about 48 hours ago. You know, we can’t deal or act on conjectures, oppositions, and so on and so forth.
“We need to verify things first. But the government is not oblivious of the fact that certain things had happened and there is also a possibility that actual facts could be distorted by either party.
“So, the government is going to look at that before coming up with something. But definitely, the government is not treating this issue lightly.”
In attendance at the security meeting were Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, and the National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno (retd).
Others were the Service Chiefs led by the Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin, the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas, and the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar.
Also present were the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, Director General of National, Department of State Services, Yusuf Bichi, Director General, National Intelligence Agency, Ahmed Rufa’i, and the Directorate of Military Intelligence.
Ministers in attendance included those of Defence, Bashir Magashi, Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, Police Affairs, Mohammad Dingyadi, and Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama.
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