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Full Text: President Buhari’s 2021 Democracy Day Address

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SPEECH BY HIS EXCELLENCY, MUHAMMADU BUHARI, PRESIDENT AND COMMANDER IN CHIEF OF THE ARMED FORCES FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA ON THE OCCASION OF COMMEMORATION AND CELEBRATION OF DEMOCRACY DAY ON 12TH JUNE, 2021

Fellow Nigerians,

I join you all today to commemorate and celebrate our Democracy Day. It is a celebration of freedom and a victory for one people, one country and one Nigeria.

As with all democracies we will always be going through improvement processes in our desire to reach the goal of a mature democracy, a strong, evolved and integrated nation state to be reckoned with globally.

In the last two years we have witnessed and overcome a good number of testy challenges that would have destroyed other nations especially relating to our collective security.

The indefatigable CAN DO Spirit of the Nigerian has sustained us and would keep pushing us to put these challenges behind us.
Unfortunately some of these challenges came in the shape of violent outrages leading to the loss of lives of many of our dear compatriots and the destruction of some of our infrastructure, including those devoted to improving our democratic processes.
Once again, I want to render my sincere and heart-felt condolences to the families and friends of our gallant servicemen and women who lost their lives in the line of duty and as a sacrifice to keep Nigeria safe.

I extend the same condolence to the families and friends of our country men, women and children who were unfortunate victims of such senseless arsons, kidnappings and murders.
I also share the pains of families and direct victims of ransom-seeking, kidnaped victims who went through unimaginable trauma in the course of their forced imprisonment.

Let me assure my fellow citizens that every incident, however minor gives me great worry and concern and I immediately order security agencies to swiftly but safely rescue victims and bring perpetrators to justice.
Fellow Nigerians,

When you elected me as your President in 2015, you did so knowing that I will put an end to the growing insecurity, especially the insurgency in the North East, but the unintended consequences of our scattering them in the North East pushed them further in-country which is what we are now facing and dealing with.

We will, by the Grace of God put an end to these challenges too.
Unfortunately, like in most conflict situations, some Nigerian criminals are taking undue advantage of a difficult situation and profiteering therefrom with the misguided belief that adherence to the democratic norms handicaps this Administration from frontally and decisively tackling them.

We are already addressing these obstacles and we will soon bring some of these culprits to justice.
We are, at the same time addressing the twin underlying drivers of insecurity namely poverty and youth unemployment.

Interventions led by Government and the Central Bank of Nigeria driving economic growth over the past 6 years are targeted mostly to the agricultural, services, infrastructure, power and health care sectors of the economy.
In the Agricultural sector, for instance, the Anchor Borrowers Programme resulted in sharp decline in the nation’s major food import bill from $2.23billion in 2014 to US$0.59billion by the end of 2018.

Rice import bill alone dropped from $1 billion to $18.5 million annually.
This initiative supported local production of rice, maize, cotton and cassava. Government financed 2.5 million small-holder farmers cultivating about 3.2 million hectares of farmland all over the country and created 10 million direct and indirect jobs.

Several other initiatives, namely AgriBusiness/Small and Medium Enterprise Investment Scheme, the Non-oil Export stimulation Facility, the Targeted Credit Facilities operated across the 774 Local Governments.

In the manufacturing sector the CBN – BOI N200 billion facility financed the establishment and operations of 60 new industrial hubs across the country, creating an estimated 890,000 direct and indirect jobs.
The CBN’s N50 billion Textile Sector intervention Facility increased capacity utilization of ginneries from 30% to nearly 90%.

The Economic Sustainability Plan – our rebound plan for the COVID-19 pandemic developed in 2020 is currently being executed. The plan is primarily focused on the non-oil sector, which has recorded phenomenal growth contributing over 90% to the GDP growth in Q1 2021.
Though marginal we have recorded GDP growth over two quarters; Q2 2020 and Q1 2021. This is evidence of a successful execution of the ESP by the Federal Government.

My vision of pulling 100 million poor Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years has been put into action and can be seen in the National Social Investment Programme, a first in Africa and one of the largest in the world where over 32.6m beneficiaries are taking part.

We now have a National Social register of poor and vulnerable households, identified across 708 local government areas, 8,723 wards and 86,610 communities in the 36 States and the FCT.
Our conditional cash transfer program has benefited over 1.6 million poor and vulnerable households comprising more than 8 million individuals.

This provides a monthly stipend of N10,000 per household.
I have also recently approved the National Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy Plan that augments existing plans to further reduce poverty in Nigeria.
As at the end of 2020, the Development Bank of Nigeria had disbursed 324 billion Naira in loans to more than 136,000 MSMEs, through 40 participating Financial Institutions. I am to note that 57% of these beneficiaries are women while 27% are the youth.

We are able to do all these and still accelerate our infrastructure development through sensible and transparent borrowing, improved capital inflow, improving and increasing revenue through capturing more tax bases and prudent management of investment proceeds in the Sovereign Wealth Fund.
Fellow Nigerians,

Our infrastructure revolution continues with key projects attaining critical milestones under the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund; The Second Niger Bridge, The Lagos- Ibadan Expressway and the Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano Expressway.

I have also approved the establishment of Infraco Plc, a world-class infrastructure development vehicle wholly focused on Nigeria with a capital structure of N15 trillion.
The rail system is not left out as the Itakpe-Warri standard gauge rail was completed and commissioned 33 years after construction began.

The Lagos-Ibadan double track railway line which I have just commissioned has commenced operations.
We are focused on ensuring that our infrastructure drive is key to economic growth and one that can be felt by every Nigerian. Building critical infrastructure in our ports is also opening up opportunities for the Nigerian economy.
My approval for 4 new seaports using a Public-Private-Partnership approach is hinged on growing the Nigerian economy.

These four sea ports; Lekki Deep Sea Port, Bonny Deep Sea Port, Ibom Deep Sea Port and Warri Deep Sea port will create massive job opportunities and foreign investment inflows.

We have worked at deepening our Eastern ports leading to success like having three container ships berth at Calabar port, a first in 11 years. Similarly, on October 30 2019, an LPG tanker operated by NLNG berthed in Port Harcourt, the first time an LPG ship is berthing at any of the Eastern Ports.

As we invest in these new assets, we have also made strides in ensuring that they are secured and protected. In this regard I am also pleased to note the launch of the NIMASA Deep Blue project – which is an Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure that I recently commissioned.

This initiative is designed to add to the layer of security we have to safeguard our maritime sector.
Dear Nigerians,

I will be the first to admit that in spite of our efforts and achievements which are there for all to see, there is still much more to be done and we are doing our best in the face of scarce resources and galloping population growth rate that consistently outstrips our capacity to provide jobs for our populace. Our over-all economic target of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years is our goal notwithstanding COVID-19.
In the last two years we lifted 10.5 million people out of poverty – farmers, small-scale traders, artisans, market women and the like.

I am very convinced that this 100 million target can be met and this informed the development of a National Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy.

The specific details of this accelerated strategy will be unveiled shortly.

In the last one year, Nigeria and the whole world faced COVID-19 for which no one was fully prepared.

Our response to the pandemic involved making hard choices in balancing livelihoods and public health concerns.

You are all living witnesses to how successful this has been due to a number of pro-active measures put in place. Our response to COVID-19 is globally acclaimed.

We were able to ensure that the various lockdown measures did not impact too negatively on the ability of ordinary Nigerians to continue sustaining their livelihoods.

During the pandemic, we disbursed N5,000 to 1 million Nigerians using a Rapid Response Register and advanced N20,000 to 750,000 beneficiaries of the Conditional Cash Transfer Progamme and provided 1.37 million Nigerians with palliatives from CACOVID.

At the same time the Federal Government released 109,000 metric tonnes of food reserve stocks and 70,000 metric tonnes of grains to the poor and vulnerable in all 36 states of the federation.

In addition, Government reduced interest rates from 9% to 5% for struggling businesses and extended credit facilities to 548,345 beneficiaries.

CREDIT: PUNCH

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Former APC Campaign Director Reveals: Tinubu Admitted He Had No Plans on How to Govern Nigeria

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Key Notes

  1.  Hajiya Naja’atu Muhammad, a former campaign director of the All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Council, disclosed that President Bola Tinubu admitted to her that he had no plans or blueprints on how to govern Nigeria before the 2023 General Elections.
  2. The conversation took place during a meeting in London prior to the polls, where President Tinubu mentioned that the plans for his governance would be developed after winning the elections.
  3.  Mrs. Muhammad expressed her concern about President Tinubu’s competence and questioned how he could rule without a blueprint in place.
  4. Despite her efforts to address critical issues such as the Almajiri system, agriculture, and security, Mrs. Muhammad has not been granted an opportunity to present her blueprint to President Tinubu.
  5. The revelation raises doubts and concerns about President Tinubu’s suitability for leadership and his preparedness to govern Nigeria effectively.

 

In a recent interview on AIT News, Hajiya Naja’atu Muhammad, a former campaign director of the All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Council, disclosed that President Bola Tinubu admitted to her that he did not have any blueprints on how to govern Nigeria before the 2023 General Elections.

Mrs. Muhammad’s revelation sheds light on her decision to resign from the ruling party prior to the election.

During a meeting in London before the polls, President Tinubu informed her that the plans for his governance would be developed after the election.

READ ALSO: President Tinubu’s Daughter Begs Nigerians To Be Patience Amid Economic Hardship

The former Campaign Director recounted the conversation, stating,

“Then I saw a message saying that Asiwaju wants to talk to you. Around 11:00 PM, so I gave them a reply. I’m waiting.

Immediately they saw my text, so they called me back, and Asiwaju called me. He said, ‘I respect your stance on not accepting the appointment.’ I said, ‘Yes, Sir, because I can’t be a zombie.

I just can’t follow you because you said I should follow you. Let me know what you have for us up north. Because if I made a mistake on Buhari with you, the truth is written on the horizon.

So I have to know what you have for us.’ He said he was in London and asked if I could go over. He offered to buy me a ticket. I said no, Sir, I can afford a ticket.

And then he said, ‘Can I get a hotel for you?’ I said yes, that I would appreciate it. I took the next Lufthansa flight to London. I saw him that same night. And we sat.

READ ALSO: Breaking News: Nigeria’s Unemployment Rate Soars to 5% in Q3’23

And I said, ‘Sir, the reason why I’m not accepting your appointment is because I don’t know what you have for us up north.

Because in the North, every single person is either waiting to be killed or kidnapped.

We can’t go on like this. What is your blueprint for us?’ He told me that he doesn’t have anything for us.”

Mrs. Muhammad further explained, “I said, ‘You mean, Sir, you don’t have a blueprint?’ He said, ‘I can’t have a blueprint because if I have a blueprint, I’ll be stepping on too many toes and they might even kill me.’ This was what he said.

I said, ‘But sir, how can you rule without a blueprint?’ He said, ‘I’ll only make a blueprint after winning the elections.’ I said, ‘There will be a lot of distractions after winning the elections. You have to keep your eyes on the ball.’ He said, ‘Well, you know what? If you have anything you want me to put in my manifesto, then please bring it.’

I told him that I have elders. We have a network for national salvation. I have our elder. I’ll go meet him in Paris the next day. The next day, I left for Paris.”

Mrs. Muhammad expressed her disappointment at not being able to meet with Tinubu again to present the blueprint.

Despite her efforts to address important issues such as the Almajiri system, agriculture, and security, she has not been granted an audience with him.

This revelation by Mrs. Muhammad highlights the lack of concrete plans presented by President Tinubu for his potential governance of Nigeria, raising concerns about his suitability for the role.

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Put More Effort Into Ending Widespread Insecurity, Don’t Wait For State Police – Obi Tells Tinubu, Governors

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Labour Party’s 2023 presidential candidate, Peter Obi, calls on President Bola Tinubu and state governors to intensify efforts in combating the surging insecurity plaguing the nation. Obi expressed deep concern over the escalating insecurity, urging Tinubu and governors to take urgent steps to address the growing threat and prepare for the implementation of state policing. He cautioned that the worsening insecurity, coupled with widespread hunger and poverty, poses a significant risk of a national crisis.

Obi’s statement read, “While the idea of State Policing as discussed recently by the President and the 36 States Governors, is a welcome development, and while looking forward to its implementation, which may still take a while, all efforts, at the moment, should be geared towards ending the ugly trend of insecurity in the nation. We should not just wait for the proposed state Police to do the magic while we become lackadaisical and allow criminals to run riot like the recent reports in Zamfara and Kaduna states.

“Waking up every day to the sad news of terror attacks around the country remains very worrisome. Recently, gunmen were reported to have attacked a mosque in Katsina, killing worshippers, and abducting several villagers.

“A terrorist attack was also reported in Kauru Local Government Area of Kaduna State where six persons were reportedly killed and about 50 abducted. What is more worrisome is that these terrorists now boldly target security agents.

“Just yesterday, bandits were said to have attacked a police station in Zamfara killing the Divisional Crime Officer, DCO. These and many other violent attacks and kidnapping-for-ransom in the country should keep the government and security agencies on their toes.

“Such a high level of insecurity when combined with the high level of hunger and poverty in the country, forms a perfect recipe for disaster in our nation. We must therefore take all possible measures to ensure the security of lives and property in our dear nation.

“I urge the government and our security agencies to expedite action on ending these terror attacks on the Nigerian people and ensure that every Nigerian is free to live securely in every part of the nation. I commiserate with the families who have lost dear ones to these violent attacks in the nation while praying for the safe rescue of those in captivity.”

 

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President Tinubu Arrives Abuja After AU Summit

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President Bola Tinubu has returned to Abuja following his attendance at the 37th African Union (AU) Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Asonaija reported Tinubu’s departure from Addis Ababa on Monday morning, and he arrived in Abuja at approximately 3:40 pm on the same day.

During his time in Ethiopia, the Nigerian leader actively engaged in discussions at the 44th Ordinary Session of the Executive council, held bilateral meetings, and participated in various events on the sidelines of the AU summit. Tinubu collaborated with other African leaders in high-level meetings focusing on institutional reforms of the African Union, peace and security matters, specific thematic topics such as climate change, and the strategies for the continental body’s participation and priorities within the G20 forum.

Accompanied by ministers and other senior government officials, the President spent three days in the East African nation. The summit’s theme for this year is ‘Educate an African fit for the 21st Century: Building resilient education systems for increased access to inclusive, lifelong, quality, and relevant learning in Africa.’

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President Tinubu Approves N126 Billion for Nationwide Housing Provision

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President Tinubu Approves N126 Billion for Nationwide Housing Provision

President Bola Tinubu has given his approval for the allocation of N126.5 billion towards the provision of housing across the nation, Aso Naija Reports.

This decision aims to facilitate the construction of 100,000 houses within a span of 18 months.

The Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Arc. Ahmed Dangiwa, made this announcement during a groundbreaking ceremony held in Karsana, an area in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The funding for these housing projects will be derived from various sources, including the budgetary allocation of the Federal Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), and Public Private Partnerships with reputable developers.

In addition, the federal government plans to initiate the construction of 6,000 housing units in the first quarter of the current year.

Arc. Ahmed Dangiwa also emphasized the incorporation of cross subsidy as a significant aspect of the government’s strategy to enhance affordability for individuals with low to medium incomes, thereby promoting integrated living.

According to this approach, the housing units constructed in the Renewed Hope Cities will be available for sale at commercial rates, while a substantial percentage will be sold at concessionary rates to low- and medium-income Nigerians who are members of the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress.

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Borno Governor, Babagana Zulum, Declares One-day Fasting to Tackle Economic Hardship

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Borno Governor, Babagana Zulum, Declares One-day Fasting to Tackle Economic Hardship

Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno has urged the state citizens to fast and offer special prayers on Monday over the current hardship caused by inflation, Aso Naija Reports.

Mr Zulum, in his broadcast to the people of the state, implored traditional rulers, clerics and citizens to observe a one-day voluntary fast on Monday for peace, prosperity and the development of the state.

“I am deeply troubled by the recent hardships faced by our citizens, particularly the high cost of food items,” said the governor.

He added, “I understand the burden this places on families and individuals, and I want to assure you that we are taking decisive steps to alleviate this issue.”

Mr Zulum said his administration was focused on reviving the agricultural sector to increase food production and reduce reliance on palliatives.

He commended the federal government for its sustained support in the fight against insurgency and the development of our state.

The governor also expressed his gratitude to security forces and volunteers for their sacrifices to safeguard lives and create a peaceful society for prosperity and development.

He said his administration was engaged with stakeholders, particularly those in the business of essential commodities, including all forms of grains and building materials, and had made far-reaching decisions to mitigate the rising cost of essential goods.

“In addition to our efforts in agriculture, we are also working on increasing the distribution of palliatives, especially for residents in Maiduguri Metropolitan and Jere,” Mr Zulum said.

He lamented the recent incidents of mines on major roads in the state, adding that those engaged in it to sabotage the government would fail. [Swipe]

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