Contrary to media reports alleging that President Muhammadu Buhari snubbed the recent South-East Economic and Security Summit in Enugu, the presidency on Friday said the president did not attend the summit because of the closeness of the date to Christmas.
A statement by Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President
(Media and Publicity) on December 23, 2016, read: “Contrary to media reports alleging that President Muhammadu Buhari snubbed the recent South-East Economic and Security Summit in Enugu, below is the accurate account:
“The President was presented with a request to attend the Economic and Security Summit by the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu.
“The President happily accepted. The visit to Enugu was scheduled for Thursday 22nd as can be found on the weekly programme. After this was done, some other stakeholders from the South East came and advised him not to go in view of the closeness of the date to Christmas; given the sensitivity of the period to the people, a presidential visit may come with overexertion and possibly, be disruptive of Christmas.
“In view of this, President Buhari requested that the event be pushed forward to January 2017. Given his nature, he did not insist. He said if the change of date is not possible, then the event could go on without him. That is what the organizers chose to do.
“The President did not, and he absolutely has no reason to snub anyone.”
48 hours to the summit, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) warned President Muhammadu Buhari against stepping his foot on Enugu or any part of “Biafraland”, threatening to die with the President.
The group warned that Enugu State Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and other leaders should be held responsible for any breakdown of law and order in the state if Buhari went ahead to visit the Coal City.