General

Independence: President Buhari vows to keep Nigeria united

President Muhammadu Buari says his administration will not allow any form of calls for division in the country to continue or see the light of the day.

President Buhari stated this resolve in a live broadcast to the nation as Nigeria marked its 57th independence anniversary on Sunday October 1.

He said those calling for division or war, do not know the consequences of their action.

Recent calls on re-structuring, quite proper in a legitimate debate, has let in highly irresponsible groups to call for dismemberment of the country. We cannot and we will not allow such advocacy. As a young Army Officer, I took part from the beginning to the end in our tragic civil war costing about 2 million lives, resulting in fearful destruction and untold suffering. Those who are agitating for a re-run were not born by 1967 and have no idea of the horrendous consequences of the civil conflict which we went through,he stated.

The President, who said the first day of October each year is very significant to all citizens of Nigeria, expressed disappointment with leader of communities from which such calls are coming, for not cautioning their wards or subjects.

He said: I am very disappointed that responsible leaders of these communities do not warn their hot-headed youths what the country went through. Those who were there should tell those who were not there, the consequences of such folly. At all events, proper dialogue and any desired constitutional changes should take place in a rational manner, at the National and State Assemblies. These are the proper and legal fora for National debate, not some lop-sided, un-democratic body with pre-determined set of objectives.

President Buhari however praised the leader of the Niger-Delta region, where dialogue has helped stabilize hostilities, leading to an improvement in oil production and revenue accrued form oil.

Government is keeping up the momentum of dialogue with stakeholders in the Niger Delta to keep the peace. We intend to address genuine grievances of the communities. Government is grateful to the responsible leadership of those communities and will pursue lasting peace in the Niger Delta,he said.

President Buhari, who thanked the country’s Armed Forces for winning the war against boko haram insurgents, thanked the international community for its collaboration in fighting terrorism.

On security, Nigerians must be grateful to our gallant Armed Forces for rolling back the frontiers of boko haram’s terrorism, defeating them and reducing them to cowardly attacks on soft and vulnerable targets. Nigeria is grateful to its neighbours and the international community for the collective efforts to defeat this world-wide menace of terrorism. Not even the most organised and most equipped police and security forces in the world can escape the menace of modern day terrorism, as we have seen in recent years in Europe and other parts of the world, President Buhari stated.

He emphasised that sustained efforts are on to extinguish the terrorists group troubling the North-East zone of the country, saying: We are not letting up. Our Armed Forces in an effort to enhance the operational capability of troops of OPERATION LAFIYA DOLE have established Mobile Strike Teams in the North East. These will ensure the final push to wipe out the remnants of Boko Haram. In addition, through targeted air strikes most of the leadership and identified logistics bases and routes of the insurgents have been neutralized. The Armed Forces have established a Naval presence in the Lake Chad Basin as part of the coordinated military efforts to curtail the movements or re-emergence of the sect in the area.

Chibok Girls

President gave a message of hope to the parents of the remaining kidnapped Chibok girls, as he revealed that government is doing everything possible to secure their release.

He said: Government is working round the clock to ensure release of the remaining Chibok girls, as well as other persons in Boko Haram captivity. Government will continue to support the Armed Forces and other security agencies to fight not only terrorism, but kidnapping, armed robberies, herdsmen/farmers violence and to ensure peace, stability and security in our country.

On the economy, President Buhari restated government’s commitment to its diversification plan, adding that the agriculture sector had since started yielding positive results. He said the effort will be sustained in collaboration with state governments.

He announced that: Furthermore, a new presidential initiative is starting with each state of the Federation creating a minimum of 10,000 jobs for unemployed youths, again with the aid of CBN’s development finance initiatives.

The Nigerian leader said Power, which has been a problem, will be given the necessary attention, in order to boost its supply to all parts of the country, with a specific target of achieving 10,000 megawatts in the next three years.

Government is increasing its investment, clearing up the operational and financial log jam bedeviling the industry. We hope to reach 10,000 Megawatts by 2020. Key priorities include better energy mix through solar and Hydro technologies. I am glad to say that after many years of limbo, Mambilla Power Project has taken off, President Buhari disclosed.

Fight against Corruption

Touching on corruption matters, the President said the task is herculean but his administration will not relent in the fight against corruption, till it eradicates the monster.

We are fully aware that fighting corruption was never going to be a straightforward task. We expected corrupt elements to use any weapon to fight back, mainly judicial obstruction and political diversion. But we are determined to eradicate corruption from our body politic.

We have signed multi-lateral cooperation agreements on criminal matters with friendly countries. There are signs of increasing cooperation from the Judiciary. Recently the Chief Justice of the Federation directed Heads of all our Courts of first instance and Appeal to accelerate hearings of corruption cases and dismiss any judicial officers found to have been compromised. Justice Salami has just been appointed to chair the Judiciary’s anti-graft committee. Government expects a lot from this Committee, he said.

He commended the National Assembly for refocusing on its oversight committees, urging the lawmakers to ensure the swift passage of enabling corruption laws.

The President pledged that government officials at all tiers of government would be accountable in their dealings, to ensure the figt against corruption succeeds.

He also promised that the current administration, under his leadership, will accelerate progress and intensify its resolve to fix the country’s challenges and problems.

Source: Voice of Nigeria