The Federal Government on Monday warned security agencies and other groups against registering or deporting Nigerians from wherever they live in the country. The administration gave the warning after the meeting of the Security Council at the Presidential Villa.
President Goodluck Jonathan chaired the meeting, which was attended by service chiefs, the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, and the Director General of the State Security Service, Ita Ekpeyong. A group, the Goodluck Jonathan, had last week asked non-Northerners residing in that part of the country to relocate to their respective states within the next two weeks.
The group said in a statement signed by its national president, Aliyu Usman, and Secretary, Alfred Solomon, after a visit to the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sunusi II, that the decision wasinformed by the need to accommodate northerners who would return home as a result of the unwarranted attacks against them in other parts of the country.
Briefing journalists after the meeting, the Director-General of the State Security Service, SSS, Ita Ekpeyong, said the Council’s resolution was to guard against Nigerians discriminating against other Nigerians, which could be worse than the current Boko Haram scourge.
He explained that if it was allowed to go on, it could lead to the disintegration of the country. Mr. Ekpenyong stated that to underscore the seriousness of the issue, the Council warned that any member of the security agencies found involved in registering or deporting any Nigerian would be strictly penalised. He said the directive to the security agencies was in line with the ongoing fight against Boko Haram.
“The fight against Boko Haram, the efforts made by government to rescue the Chibok girls and the issue of deportation, registration of Nigerians in states of the federation, we regard this as even more potent than Boko Haram,” Mr. Ekpenyong stated. “Council discussed in detail the issue of registration of Nigerians in any part of the country, being subjected to registration, being subjected to deportation, being taken away from one part of the country to the other.
“Council observes that this threat was more potent than Boko Haram and could disintegrate the country. And we take this very seriously, for people to deport people, for people to take people from one place to the other, for registration of indigenes no matter where they are. No matter where they are they are free to settle anywhere they like.
Council resolved that the issue of registration of Nigerians anywhere in the country and deportation should stop forthwith.” The SSS boss said as a way of re-emphasizing the importance attached to the matter, Mr. Jonathan asked him and Mr. Abubakar to address the press, and insisted that registration of Nigerians must be stopped. He continued, “Security operatives should not be involved in anybody trying to register people and anybody trying to deport people. Security operatives must henceforth not be involved. Any policeman or SSS found to be involved in it will be severely dealt with.“Also Youth groups trying to foment trouble because of this issue are hereby warned to desist from it because government is taking serious notice of it.
Government is doing everything possible to stem this from getting out of control. As a matter of fact to show the urgency, the Council of State meeting will be held anytime next week to discuss these issues. Mr. Ekpenyong likened the fight against terrorism in the country to a football match, where only goals are recognized and not the attempted goals.
He restated that government was aware of where the girls were being kept, but that it was being cautious in other to avoid human casualties. “We kept saying that the fight against Boko Haram is like the footballer. You know when the Germans played Argentina, it was only that one goal they scored that everyone is remembering, the other goals that were stopped nobody will remember,” Mr. Ekpenyong said. “There are several things government is doing, there are several attacks government has stopped but nobody will remember those ones because we don’t tell you but several things are going on.
“The issue of Chibok girls, government is making efforts. We know where they are, but we don’t want to endanger their lives. That is the truth. We want to take it gradually and release them at the appropriate time. We know where they are you can go to bed with that.”
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