Abuja, Feb. 18, 2021 – The National Economic Council (NEC) says it is committed to the protection of residents of all states, including non-indigenous communities.
Gov. Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State briefed State House correspondents after NEC meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday in Abuja.
The meeting, held at the State House Banquet Hall, was the first physical NEC meeting since the COVID-19 lockdown started in 2020.
According to the governor, the council is conscious of security which is the biggest concern to Nigerians at present.
“The council is committed to the following principles:
“The protection of residents of all states including non-indigenous communities and religious and ethnic minorities within states’ jurisdiction.
“The arrest and prosecution of all perpetrators of crime; in collaboration with federal authorities; reconstruction of destroyed homes and payment of compensations where appropriate for damage to property and livelihood sustained during targeted attacks on communities within the states’ jurisdiction.
“We are also committed to ensuring that deceased victims of such violence are duly accorded dignified burial rites.’’
Abiodun said that NEC resolved that there should be immediate public and unequivocal condemnation of all manifestations of hatred, targeted violence and other hate crimes against ethnic, religious and minority groups.
He said that the council also undertook to ensure that local security initiatives whether they were state governments’, local vigilante groups or the community policing programme of the Nigeria police were inclusive.
The governor said that the council agreed that such security initiatives would be composed with due consideration given to adequate representation of all non-indigenous communities or resident communities.
“We also resolved to ensure that all states, local and community security initiatives operate according to guidelines consistent with states’ legislation and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and relevant laws that are subjected to rigorous oversight.
“We are also committed to ensuring that innocent citizens and entire communities are not slandered by criminal elements within those communities on the basis of ethnic or religious affiliation.
“The council also encouraged the continued organisation of and participation in town hall meetings in the localities where ethnic strife has taken place by governors representing all geo-political zones. Just like the one we had in Ogun two days ago.
“The council resolved that the same must hold in Kebbi, in Zamfara, in Kano by those of us from the Southwest, Southeast attending those kind of stakeholders meeting so it doesn’t seem to be one sided.’’
Abiodun said the council deliberated on how Nigerian forests should be better managed and secured against criminals and criminality.
He said it was common knowledge that most of the crimes that committed lately were perpetrated by those that lived in the forests.
“They come into town, they attack innocent citizens and they run back to those forests.
“So, we deliberated on how to ensure that those forests are better secured and managed against criminals and criminality.’’
The governor said that states were also encouraged to promote the modernisation of livestock and also the strengthening of the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP).
Moreso, he said, the council discussed and agreed that government would look at strengthening vigilance on border and cross border migration between Nigeria and neighbouring countries to discourage this cross border crimes.
“And a case to note is that which occurred in Ogun; where it is alleged that some people came from across the border because we border Benin Republic in those areas where we had the recent communal clash.
“They came in from the border; they killed some of our people and ran back across the border.
“So, the council resolved that we are going to strengthen vigilance against cross border crimes and migration,’’ he said.