Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday reiterated the determination of his administration to keep its promise to lead the country into a new era of justice and prosperity.
In a televised address to mark the 19th year of Nigeria’s nascent democracy in Abuja, the nation’s capital, the Nigerian leader highlighted the various achievements and challenges of his administration since it came into office exactly three years ago on May 29, 2015.
The highlighted areas of successes include the fighting corruption, battling terror, transportation, agriculture and social intervention programs.
WAR ON CORRUPTION
Buhari vowed to win the ongoing war against corruption however hard the road is.
He said various policy measures already put in place to stem the tide of corrupt practices have been yielding remarkable results.
The fight against corruption has resulted in the recovery of billions of naira, as well as forfeiture of various forms of assets, Buhari said.
Nigeria has also signed Mutual Legal Assistance Agreements with a number of countries to ensure that there is no hiding place for fugitives, he said.
Buhari told the nation that his administration is focused on revamping the ailing economy it inherited in 2015.
The implementation of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan has started yielding results, he said, noting that the economy grew by 1.95 percent in first quarter 2018,
This is a good performance when viewed against the -0.91 percent rate seen in the first quarter 2017 and -0.67 percent in first quarter of 2016, Buhari said.
Nigeria’s foreign reserves have improved significantly, to 47.5 billion U.S. dollars as of May, up from 29.6 billion dollars in 2015, while the inflationary rate had consistently declined every month since January 2017, he said.
Buhari said Nigeria has continued to pursue a strategic food security program built around self-sufficiency and minimization of import.
As a result of this policy, he said, rice import has been cut by 90 percent, which he said has a direct impact on foreign reserves.
Buhari said the degrading of Boko Haram insurgency led to the release of 106 Chibok and 104 Dapchi girls abducted by the insurgents.
He said the routing of the terrorists also accounted for the release of no fewer than 16,000 other persons from their captivity.
The president said before the inception of his administration, Boko Haram had held large areas of land spanning several local government areas in the northeastern Nigeria.
According to him, the areas hitherto occupied by the insurgents have been recovered and authority of government re-established.
Buhari said his administration is pained over the loss of lives and properties occasioned by the carnage of insurgency and other forms of criminality in the country.
He assured Nigerians that the federal government would not rest until all criminal elements and their sponsors are brought to justice.
The government is boosting the capacity of security agencies through recruitment of more personnel, training and procurement of modern equipment, enhancement of intelligence gathering and boosting personnel morale in the face of daunting challenges, Buhari said.
He deplored the unfortunate incidents of kidnappings, clashes between herdsmen and farmers in several communities, which had led to the death of many the loss of properties across the country.
Buhari said the security challenges are being addressed and that identified culprits and their sponsors would face the full wrath of the law.
He commended members of the Multinational Joint Task Force drawn from Niger, Benin, Chad, Cameroon and Nigerian security agencies to help fight insurgency in northeastern Nigeria.
The Nigerian leader said his administration is committed to lawful interventions to ensure that operators in the business of electricity distribution live up to expectations of Nigerians.
He said the country has recorded impressive improvement in power generation and distribution in the past three years.
Buhari asked operators in the system to enhance their services, especially in distribution capacity, service delivery, collection efficiency and metering to eliminate contentious estimated billing.
Buhari said the transportation sector has continued to undergo a series of reforms to sustain the international best practices and ensure safety and security.
Major airports have witnessed reconstruction of runways, installation of navigational equipment and new international terminals, he said.
The new terminals are due for inauguration in Abuja, Lagos, Kano and Enugu, Buhari said.
He expressed the hope that bilateral air services agreements between Nigeria and the governments of other countries would significantly open up new flight routes.
Buhari said giant strides have been recorded over the past three years to improve road transport infrastructure across the country.
The railway sub-sector has also received tremendous attention as the government is committed to the goal of linking all state capitals by rail network to ease the movement of goods and passengers, he added. Enditem