The presidency has apologised to leaders of the south-south region over the cancellation of a meeting that was billed to hold on Tuesday.

The south-south leaders had expressed displeasure over the cancelled meeting between them and a delegation from the federal government, saying the presidency disrespected them.

They demanded an unreserved apology from the presidency, listing that as one of the conditions to consider reconvening the meeting.

According to a statement by Garba Shehu, president spokesman, the postponement was “certainly not out of disrespect’’.

He said the absence of the federal government delegation at the planned meeting with governors and stakeholders of the south-south region was necessitated by Tuesday’s emergency security meeting summoned by President Muhammadu Buhari.

He said the delegation to the meeting, under Ibrahim Gambari, chief of staff to the president, ministers and heads of security and intelligence agencies were in full readiness to proceed to Port Harcourt until they were directed to stay back for the emergency security meeting.

“This information and regret for the inconvenience caused were conveyed to the hosts of the meeting through what we believed were the right channels,” he said.

“As may have been gleaned from the statement read by the Minister of Police Affairs, Muhammad Maigari Dingyadi, the extraordinary National Security Council meeting, under the President, was called in view of the gravity of the security situation affecting all parts of the country, including the South-South in the aftermath of the ENDSARS protests, and the need to rise to protect our national security and territorial integrity. ”

Shehu said the president is strongly and resolutely committed to hearing from leaders, stakeholders and youth on burning issues affecting all parts of the federation.

He, therefore, added that a new date for the meeting with the region would be agreed after due consultations with the parties concerned.

“Once again, the unavoidable postponement of the meeting is regretted,’’ he added.

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