By Eric Elezuo
Newsmen at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, venue of the meeting of a delegation from Borno State, led by the state governor, Hassim Shettima and President Muhammadu Buhari, were made to evacuate the venue to pave way for the governor to present his ‘observations and 10 requests’ to the President.
A evacuation followed a solemn request by the governor, who could not hold back tears at the event, to the newsmen not to publish the content of his presentation. The authorities felt the best way to ensure it is not published was therefore, to ask all pressmen out of the venue.
“We came with some observations and 10 requests for urgent presidential intervention. These observations and requests are products of discussion in the aftermath of our extraordinary security meeting held one week ago.
“We didn’t rush to come after the meeting. We felt the need to travel to northern Borno, interact with displaced persons and the military so as to strengthen public confidence.
“I will seek the understanding of journalists by not making public any of our observations and 10 requests,” the governor was quoted as saying.
The Presidency, in a statement after the meeting, said Buhari reassured Shettima that his administration would strengthen the Nigerian military to neutralise the insurgents in the North-East.
The statement, which was signed by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, added that Buhari told the visitors that the security and safety of all citizens remained his primary concern.
The statement added that Buhari thanked them for their support in the anti-insurgency war, but remained silent on the content of the observations and 10 requests.
Also in a statement in Maiduguri, Shettima’s spokesman, Mallam Isa Gusau, stated that the delegation presented the recommendations to the President.
According to him, the delegation presented a letter containing security-related “observations” and 10 undisclosed demands to the President.
He said the demands were connected to measures, which the delegation believed if adhered to, would help in the efforts to end insurgency in the area.