President Muhammadu Buhari will announce a ‘critical solution’ to the #ENDSARS protest in a couple of hours, Nigeria’s National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, said at the end of the fourth National Security Council meeting.
Addressing State House Correspondents at the end of the over three hours meeting, Mr Monguno said the meeting basically dwelt on one subject matter, “the current security situation that has come about as a result of the ENDSARS protests.”
Mr Buhari, a retired general, has been accused of not addressing Nigerians even as the protests against police brutality and institutional rot, which started about two weeks ago has degenerated into deaths and violence across the nation.
The official said: “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 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 concern 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 government can begin to make concessions, then its 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.”
He also said: “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 situation.
“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 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 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 an 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.“
Asked if the president was going to address the nation as requested by the National Assembly, Mr Mungonu said: “I can’t actually divulge what was said but let’s just wait for Mr. President.”
Asked if 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, government is not treating this issue lightly.”
The meeting which started at 11:00 a.m. was held at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
In attendance were the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, Chief of Staff to the President, Ibrahim Gambari, and the National Security Adviser.
Others were the Service Chiefs led by the Chief of Defence Staff, Gabriel Olonisakin, the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, Chief of Naval Staff, Ibok Ekwe Ibas and the Chief of Air Staff, 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.