Southeast insecurity: Fed Govt to explore dialogue, says Ngige

By Bolaji Ogundele, Abuja

The Federal Government has resolved to adopt dialogue to resolve the escalating insecurity in the Southeast.

Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, said the option had already started.

He spoke with reporters after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari and his Chief of Staff, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Ngige said: “We also looked at the security situation, especially in my zone, the Southeast, and we made some proposal to him (the President), based on the yearnings of the people, and what the government also wants.

“We are following up with dialogue, which at the end of the day is what will happen. We have to talk, we have to discuss.

“The Minister of Defence, Minister of Interior and the Service Chiefs were in Enugu earlier last Saturday and we are going to do follow-up meetings on that again.

“We briefed him and he accepted that dialogue is the way to go in all these. Like I keep on saying, there is a very thin line between perception and reality, so certain things should be done, at least to assuage the feelings of the people in the area and make them not feel unwanted. So, that area was discussed.”

He also said the face-off between the Kaduna State Government and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) was also discussed at the meeting with the President.

Ngige said it was resolved that there was no need for another round of industrial disharmony between labour and the Kaduna State government especially as the country was faced with serious security challenges.

“The NLC wrote to Mr President complaining that the Kaduna State government wasn’t keeping to its side of the agreement, especially in the area of victimisation of workers.

“The NLC said the government of Kaduna sacked some staff from their workforce for participating in the strike.

“Mr President sought for advice on it and we’ve transmitted the advice. So, I and the Chief of Staff have jointly briefed him on that and we are taking action to make sure we don’t have a repeat of what happened in that state.

“The President said we have already been bedevilled with security issues; we don’t want any more compounding of those issues,” he said.

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