By Adedayo Akinwale
The National Economic Council (NEC) yesterday set up a committee to engage youths, representatives of civil society organisations (CSO), religious and traditional leaders, on employment and social safety net programmes.
Members of the committee, to be chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, are Governors, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto), Prof. Babagana Zulum (Borno), Mr. Muhammed Bello (Niger), Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) (Ondo), Chief Dave Umahi (Ebonyi) and Senator Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta).
The committee, which is to commence work immediately, will develop a comprehensive framework and coordinate joint actions and steps to be taken by both the federal and state governments to examine the fundamental issues underlining the #EndSARS protests and arrive at effective solutions, including how to enhance national security.
It will develop a framework to engage with security agencies that will devolve more control to governors who are the chief security officers of their states.
The Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande, in a communiqué yesterday after an emergency NEC meeting, said the resolutions reached by the council were to find out the deeper reasons behind the #EndSARS protests and the fallout and how they should be addressed by both the federal and state governments.
The communiqué also said NEC commiserated and condoled with all those injured, suffered the death of a loved one or lost property since the hijacking of the #EndSARS demonstrations by criminals and hoodlums.
It said: “To this end, a council committee to engage the youths, representatives of civil society organisations, religious and traditional leaders, on employment, social safety net programmes, and national unity among other key issues of concern has been constituted composing governors representing the six geopolitical zones.”
The council observed the low morale of security operatives during the period and members resolved to commend the police and all the security agencies for their handling of what was clearly an unprecedented problem.
It expressed the belief that most members of the nation’s security personnel are law-abiding and are capable of restoring law and order.
The NEC also supported President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to overhaul 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 stated: “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.
“Council reviewed the activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra (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 established that economic issues underlie what the country has gone through in the last few weeks. Good governance and improved service delivery remain the fundamental panacea to social tensions in the country and social welfare must be given greater priority in the first instance.
“Council decried the irresponsible use of social media in fueling misinformation and increasing social tensions.”
It added: “The 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.
“A framework for national unity; 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.”