Presidency Proposes Nationwide Town Hall Meetings over Insecurity
•NSA, security chiefs to meet govs, religious leaders, women, youth groups, others
Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
The presidency has proposed town hall meetings in the six geo-political zones in response to the growing security challenges in the country. It says it expects to generate ideas on the way forward from the meetings.
A statement by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) said to work out the modalities of the meeting, the federal government would confer with state governors, religious leaders, women, and youth groups. ONSA said the move was in furtherance of the government’s commitment to addressing the multiple security threats facing Nigeria. The statement said the National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd), had convened a meeting of the General Security Appraisal Committee (GSAC) on February 11. The meeting, which was attended by the service chiefs and heads of law enforcement, security and intelligence agencies, discussed the threats of kidnapping, terrorism, banditry, armed robbery and the consequences of these threats on lives and property.
The NSA said as part of a renewed commitment to make Nigeria safe and secure, the GSAC meeting resolved to strengthen inter-agency coordination, stakeholders’ engagement, and consultation in order to find lasting solutions to the multiple security threats.
According to the statement, “Working with the service chiefs and heads of security and intelligence agencies, the NSA is coordinating a Whole-of-Government and Whole-of Society approach that cuts across the legislature, judiciary, ministries and departments, states and local governments and the civil society to ensure that every stakeholder plays a role in securing our towns and villages.
“The NSA believes that addressing these threats call for the deployment of all national assets, including the cooperation of all Nigerians.
“To that extent, the National Security Adviser will be leading a delegation of heads of federal law enforcement, security and intelligence agencies to the geo-political zones to hold town halls meeting with the state governors, traditional and religious leaders, members of the legislature, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), youth and women organisations.”
The meetings, the statement said, are expected to provide direct assessment of the security situation, generate local feedback and recommendations, encourage geo-political synchronisation of effort among states, and create a pathway to lasting peace and security.
The ONSA said the first of the town hall meetings had been scheduled to hold in Kaduna State on February 15 with the seven governors of the North-west states.
The statement further said, “The federal government is deeply concerned about the current spate of criminal activities and is taking major steps to strengthen the capacity of security agencies, while upgrading the security architecture, and implementing a multi-pronged strategy that involves political, humanitarian, economic and security measures.
“The federal government is equally committed to working with the states and community leaders to strengthen peace, security and development in all parts of the country.”