The National Economic Council (NEC) has set up a committee to engage youths and other stakeholders on ways to address ‘deeper issues’ that led to the #EndSARS protests.
NEC, at a meeting chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), mandated the committee to focus on employment, social safety net programmes, national unity and other critical national issues.
A statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, said the committee is headed by Osinbajo.
NEC also expressed condolences to those who had lost their loved ones, sustained injuries or lost valuables to the violence that trailed the #EndSARS protests.
The meeting also expressed support for the steps so far taken by President Muhammadu Buhari in tackling the protests and commended the security agencies for their management of the crisis.
The membership of the committee is drawn from each of the geo-political zones of the country, including governors of Sokoto State, Borno State, Niger State, Ondo State, Ebonyi State and Delta State.
The statement reads: “Rising from the emergency meeting of the NEC held Monday, 26th October 2020, members commiserated and expressed sincere condolences to all those who have been injured, suffered the death of a loved one or lost property since the hijacking of the #EndSARS demonstrations by criminals and hoodlums across the country.
“The Council observed the low morale of security operatives during the period and members resolved to commend the Nigerian Police and other security agencies for their handling of what is clearly an unprecedented problem.
“Council affirmed an unequivocal belief and assurance that most members of the nation’s security personnel are law-abiding and are capable of restoring law and order in the country.
“NEC also supported President Buhari’s commitment to a complete overhaul of the country’s security services by improving the capacity of security officers across the rank and file while providing them with the necessary equipment to carry out their jobs effectively”.
It also called on the Coalition of Private Sector operators against COVID-19, also known as CACOVID, to enlighten the citizens on its palliative distribution mode and its works with state governments.
“NEC enjoined the CACOVID leadership to come out with an independent statement on the status of the distribution of palliatives donated to States which should clearly explain the circumstances behind the delay in the distribution of food items domiciled in warehouses across the country”, it said.
On the activities of groups like the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), the Council emphasised the need for an urgent action to be taken, especially in the light of their tendencies to always subvert genuine agitations to cause mayhem.
The statement added: “Council reviewed the activities of IPOB and other secessionist groups, stressing that these subterranean and violent tendencies must be quickly addressed given that they have continually hijacked demonstrations and caused mayhem and lawlessness across parts of the country.
“Council decried the irresponsible use of social media in fueling misinformation and increasing social tensions.
Council agreed to embark on an objective framing of a new security and stability architecture for the country supported by the development of a framework of engagement with the youth, civil society and religious leaders. It also agreed on:
*a framework to engage with security agencies that will devolve more control to state governors who are the chief security officers of their states;
*a framework for federal support to provide compensation for those who have incurred losses in the last few weeks; and
*a framework for social security to deal with the problem of unemployment and poverty in the country.