Chibok: There is no ceasefire agreement yet - Akpabio

By The Citizen
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The announced cease fire between the Federal Government and the terrorist sect, Boko Haram has not been concluded, Gov. Akpabio said. ‎Speaking after the National Council of State meeting which was presided by President Goodluck Jonathan, the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio who briefed State House correspondents alongside his counterparts from Edo, Adams Oshiomhole and Idris Wada of Kogi State, said the National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd), told Council that contrary to media reports, the cease fire agreements has not been concluded but that government was doing all within its power to free the abducted Chibok girls.

'A major issue discussed today was the issue of the security of the nation. We received a report from the National Security Adviser on the security of the nation. He briefed council on the current war on insurgency and explanations were given on issue of Chibok girls. 'Council was satisfied that the Defence ministry and all the agencies have taken the right steps and the President is on course and sooner or later Nigerians would hear good news. But we urged Nigerians to be patient and that the issues of terrorism are not issues that could be finished within a day or two. There are some instances in which countries have had to contain with insurgency but in the case of Nigeria, we said we must find practical means of bringing insurgency to an end in the shortest possible time so that Nigerians can sleep with their two eyes closed.

'We commended the President and security agencies for job done so far and urged them to add more valve to ensure that lives and property are protected so that Nigerians would not become refuges in their own land,' Akpabio stated.

On the cease fire agreement with Boko Haram‎, Akpabio said, 'The NSA was of the opinion that high level contact with the Republic of Chad was made and that some persons who acted on behalf of the Boko Haram and who claimed to have authority also had discussions with them and there are some Nigerian officials with them and of course, no agreement has been reached yet, it is just that the press probably misunderstood what was reported, the discussions are on-going.

'What came out of the NSA briefings was that the President will do everything possible to ensure the release of those young girls and to ensure protection of lives and property and that will include dialogue, where you can have the people to dialogue with because you cannot dialogue with people that are faceless and therefore every opportunity must be explored to ensure peace return to the region. So we look forward to when the real Boko Haram will come out for negotiations', he said.

Akpabio who is also the Chairman of the Governor's Forum of the Peoples Democratic Party‎ (PDP), said the Council which had in attendance, former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Shehu Shagari, former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, and former Head of Interim National Government, Ernest Shonekan, was well briefed on Ebola by Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health. 'He took us through the processes that Nigeria had to go through to combat and control the Ebola Virus disease. 'Council was very appreciative of the efforts of the President and congratulated Mr. President and appreciated him for his leadership in ensuring that the Ebola disease was rooted out of Nigeria.

'Council sympathised with the families of the victims of the Ebola disease but thanked all the health officials and personnel involved in the entire saga.

'Council noted that out of over 350 people quarantined because of the Ebola virus disease, that not more than 16 to 19 people were affected and out of that the survival rate was above 70 per cent.

'Council was briefed that the WHO had certify the country Ebola free nation and it is highly commendable and Nigerians should be well vigilant and the borders should be well monitored to ensure that we do not have a second Sawyer visiting Nigeria and causing havoc in the entire nation.

'For Mr. President, the Federal Ministry of Health and all the states of the Federation including Rivers, Lagos and Enugu states involved in the entire Ebola saga were commended for the vigilance and all Nigerians for the unity of purpose, for standing behind the President and for cooperating and collaborating with health officials to ensure that that scourge was immediately arrested and stamped out of Nigeria'. Akpabio said the second issue discussed was that of discrimination. According to him, 'There was a committee that was set up headed by Babangida Aliyu of Niger State and he presented the report and the council condemned all acts of discrimination across board whether it was gender discrimination, tribal discrimination or whether it was discrimination on account of height, weight or state of origin or religion. It was totally condemned.

'The council also mandated the committee to go back and beef up, and then rejig the report and come back with solutions that could be presented to the National Assembly in the case of incidents that may require legislation so that we can come up with legislation that would unite Nigeria and stop all the discriminatory practices, a good example is the issue of indigeneship.

'Council is of the opinion that no Nigerian child should be discriminated against on the basis on the fact that he is not an indigene of an area, particularly when such a person had stayed there or being resident there for more than five years. But you are aware that in some instances people had stayed and had been resident in an environment up to 100 years and people still call them non indigenes.

'So those kind of practices were frowned at by the council and we believe it is important to bring that to an end do that Nigeria can remain a truly united Federation where everybody could aspire to any position and any level and of course, no discrimination of any sought. That also involves women, sometimes women are paid differential salaries from men in some instance and those practices were highlighted and discussed by the council and we are trying to find means and ways of bringing them to an end. Some may come through Presidential proclamations, some may come through legislations and that would be further discussed in due course when the next solution report will be presented by the committee'.

Also at the meeting were the Senate President, David Mark, former Chief Justices of Nigeria, Idris Kutigi, Mohammadu Uwais, National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim, Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke.

The governors at the meeting when it commenced were Abia, Edo, Ekiti, Enugu, Delta, Akwa Ibom, Ondo, Jigawa, Kaduna, Niger, Cross Rivers, Kogi, and Ebonyi.

Katsina Deputy Governor also attended the meeting.