Buhari urges ceasefire on South-east security
President Muhammadu Buhari Sunday met with the Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, and Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige on the security crisis in the South-east region and the labour crisis in Kaduna state.
The meeting held at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
Speaking with State House correspondents at the end of the meeting, Dr Ngige said it resolved that there is no need for another strike action in Kaduna state.
Blueprint had reported how the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) wrote President Buhari alleging that the Kaduna state government had refused to comply with the terms of agreement reached between the two parties brokered in April.
Recall that the federal government through the Minister of Labour and Employment met with both parties to seek the suspension of the warning strike against the decision of state government to rightsize.
“We also looked at the Kaduna State government/Nigeria Labour Congress imbroglio. We have arrested the strikes, we have apprehended them and formed committees for the workers through the NLC and the Kaduna state government so that they can do some social dialoguing and reconciliation through that route
“The NLC just five days ago, wrote to Mr. President complaining that the Kaduna state government wasn’t keeping to their own side of the agreement, signed, especially in the area of victimisation of workers, said that the government of Kaduna state has sacked some staff from their workforce for participating in the strike.
“And Mr. President sought for advice on it and we’ve transmitted the advice today. So, I and the Chief of Staff have jointly briefed him on that and we are taking action to make sure we don’t have a repeat of what happened in that state. He said that we have already been bedeviled with security issues, we don’t want any more compounding of those issues,” he said.
Commenting on the security crisis in the South-east, the minister said he has made some proposal to the president, based on the yearnings of the people.
“And we are following up with dialogue which at the end of the day is what will happen. We have to talk, we have to discuss. And part of the discussion starts also tomorrow. The Minister of Defence, Minister of Interior and the Service Chiefs were in Enugu earlier last Saturday and we are going to do follow-up meetings on that again starting from tomorrow.
“We briefed him and he accepted that dialogue is the way to go in all these. Like I keep on saying there is a very thin line between perception and reality, so certain things should be done, at least to assuage the feelings of the people in the area and make them not to feel unwanted. So that area was also discussed,” the minister explained.
Meanwhile, the governors of the South-east region may be preparing to hold talks with IPOB, going by the positions adopted by the governors and other leaders of the region during their Saturday’s meeting in Enugu.
The Chairman of the South-East Governors’ Forum, Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi state was quoted as telling reporters that the leaders from the region had set up a committee to engage the “agitators” in the region to address their fears.
It is not clear if Governor Umahi specifically mentioned IPOB by name when he spoke with reporters but the governor may have very well referred to group when he said “agitators”, as IPOB is the main group agitating for the independent state of Biafra, for now.
This development signals a departure from the previous hard line posture against IPOB and its leader, Nnamdi Kanu.