Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
As part of the ongoing stabilisation efforts of the Federal and State Governments, following the #EndSARS protest across the country, the Minister of State, Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Zubairu Dada met on Saturday with stakeholders in Minna, the Niger State Capital.
At the meeting were the Deputy Governor of Niger State, Alhaji Ahmed Muhammad Ketso; the Secretary to the Niger State Government, Ahmed Ibrahim Matane; the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Balarabe Kagara; the Speaker of the Niger State House of Assembly, Abdullahi Bawa Wuse; Members of the National and State Assemblies, among others.
The Special Assistant to Dada on Media, Ibrahim Aliyu, in a statement made available to Sunday Sun in Abuja, said the meeting brought together, traditional rulers, religious leaders, legislators, politicians, as well as youth and women groups.
In his opening remarks, Dada said the aim of the meeting was to engage and listen to different stakeholders as parts of efforts to promote peace, security and corporate existence of Nigeria as one indivisible entity.
“The Minister who described the meeting as timely, considering the widespread ENDSARS protests across the country, said it would go a long way in addressing some of the challenges that made the youth to take to the streets.
“He said although the initiators of the ENDSARS protest have a genuine intention, the protest was however hijacked by hoodlums who seized the opportunity to steal and destroy both public and private properties.
“The minister, while thanking Niger State youths for not using the protests to cause havoc in the state, maintained that the Federal Government is fully aware of their challenges and is totally committed to addressing them,” Aliyu stated.
Dada, Aliyu further said, promised to take all the grievances of the youths to President Muhammadu Buhari and other appropriate channels for urgent attention.
The Minister of State, Foreign Affairs, also said the Federal Government has shown a commitment to the anti-SARS protesters by immediately scrapping the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and accepting to look into the five other demands made by the youth during the protests.
“He stated that it is only fair that Nigerians give the government the benefit of doubt by allowing it to fulfil all it promised.
“Ambassador Dada said the recession and the recent outbreak of COVID-19 have made governance difficult in the country due to the dwindling revenue, but that the present administration, through determination, was able to introduce various social intervention programmes to reduce the impact of these challenges on our youth,” Aliyu added.
The Governor of Niger State, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, while speaking during the parley, said the state was in full support of the reform of the Nigerian Police Force, adding that the calls for the reform must be done in peace.
Bello who was represented by the Deputy Governor of Niger State, Alhaji Ahmed Muhammad Ketso, commended the youths in the state for their maturity throughout the period of the protests.
He, however, emphasised on the need for the Federal Government to come to the aid of the state, particularly in the areas of roads, power and the immediate take-off of the Hydro-Electric Power Development Commission (HYPADEC).
Aliyu further said other speakers at the meeting which included the representatives of various interest groups, were unanimous in their calls for the speedy interventions on critical infrastructure across the state.