Nigerian Independence day October 1st remains a special date for all Nigerians as this marks the day when we attained one of the most precious of human desires — freedom. Over the years the country has gone through trials and tribulations, but October 1st is always a day for celebrations. President Buhari while addressing the nation on 1st Oct 2017 It is a day for thanks giving, reflection and re-dedication. It is also a day for remembrance.
We should remind ourselves of the recent journey from 1999-2015, when our country happily returned to democratic rule. However, in spite of oil prices being an average of $100 per barrel and about 2.1m barrels a day, that great piece of luck was squandered and the country’s social and physical infrastructure neglected. We were left with no savings and huge infrastructure deficit. The APC Government’s Campaign rallying cry to restore security, re-balance the economy and fight corruption was not all rhetoric. The country must first be secured. The economy must be re-balanced so that we do not depend on oil alone.
We must fight corruption which is Nigeria’s Number One Enemy.
We must fight corruption which is Nigeria's Number One Enemy. Our Administration is tackling these tasks in earnest. In the past two years, Nigeria has recorded appreciable gains in political freedom. A political Party at the Centre losing elections of State Governor, National Assembly seat and even State Assemblies to the opposition parties is new to Nigeria. Added to these are complete freedom to associate, to hold and disseminate opinions. Such developments clearly attest to the country’s growing political development. But like all freedoms, this is open to abuse. 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 can not and we will not allow such advocacy.
These are the proper and legal fora for National debate, not some lop-sided, un-democratic body with pre-determined set of objectives. 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. SECURITY 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 organized 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. But 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. 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. ECONOMY With respect to the economy, the Government has remained pro-active in its diversification policy.
The Federal Government’s agricultural Anchor Borrowers Programme, which I launched in November 2015, has been an outstanding success with: • N43.92 billion released through the CBN and 13 participating institutions, • 200,000 small holder farmers from 29 states of the federation benefitting, • 233,000 hectares of farmland cultivating eight commodities, namely Rice, Wheat, Maize, Cotton, soya-beans, Poultry, Cassava and Groundnuts, in addition to fish farming. These initiatives have been undertaken in close collaboration with the states. I wish to commend the efforts of the Governors of Kebbi, Lagos, Ebonyi and Jigawa States for their support to the rice and fertilizer revolutions. Equally commendable are contributions of the Governors of Ondo, Edo, Delta, Imo, Cross River, Benue, Ogun, Kaduna and Plateau States for their support for the Presidential initiative for palm oil, rubber, cashew, cassava, potatoes and others crops.
With the abundance of rainfall last year and this year, agriculture has enjoyed Divine intervention. Since December last year, this Administration has produced over 7 million 50Kg bags of fertilizer. Eleven blending plants with a capacity of 2.1 million metric tons have been reactivated. We have saved $150 million in foreign exchange and N60 billion in subsidy. Fertilizer prices have dropped from N13,000 per 50Kg bag to N5,500. 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. Power remains a huge problem.