President Muhammadu Buhari has condemned the “undue politicisation” of the security challenges facing the country by some Nigerians.
He said that even though such critics do not want to admit the truth, the current security situation is better than what it was in 2015 when his administration came into power.
Buhari stated this when the promoters of the proposed African Security Leadership Summit visited him at the State House, Abuja, yesterday.
According to him, no matter how much the revisionists try to distort history, “the records show where we were in terms of security in 2015, where we are now, and we also know where we want to be.”
In a statement issued on the visit by his special adviser on media, Mr Femi Adesina, the president said that the relative successes of his administration since 2015 were clear, noting that “what remains in areas of security are also clear despite the politicisation.”
He, therefore, lauded the plan to convene the security summit to bring together some African leaders, defence attaches, embassies and high commissions, the leadership of the defence community in the country, and several others to contribute to the search for lasting solutions to the security challenges.
To the chairman of the initiative, His Royal Highness Abdullahi Bagudu Mamman, President Buhari said: “I am glad that you are well experienced and know the implications of this high-powered conference. It will be a great test for you and members of your committee. You will be dealing with professionals in security, defence and diplomacy. We will do our best to support you.”
Mamman, a retired major-general-turned traditional ruler, led the team under the auspices of Global Initiative for Leadership Success (GILS), the organisers of the security summit to the State House, Abuja for the meeting with the president.
He said: “We share in the conviction of the administration to address the problems of the country. At the assumption of office in 2015, parts of the country had been acquired by Boko Haram insurgents. Your seriousness and committed efforts have made us to now be able to worship in peace. Boko Haram has been truly degraded and other forms of criminalities are being addressed.”
The royal father added that the summit slated for October would involve the entire security architecture in Nigeria and would be held under the theme: “Sustaining the Security Renaissance of Nigeria.”
The event will feature honours and awards for those who have excelled in the area of security, “because we need to reward the commitment of our heroes,” Mamman said.
An endowment fund will also be launched to cater for families of those who paid the supreme price and to care for others who are permanently maimed.
FG To Deal With Boko Haram As Bandits
In another development, Buhari has said that the remnants of Boko Haram insurgents in the North East zone are bandits, stressing that “we will continue to treat them as such.”
While receiving Mr. Peter Maurer, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) at State House, Abuja, Buhari said that “Boko Haram has been degraded, but its members are still a nuisance around Lake Chad and the surrounding islands. That is why we are cooperating with Chad, Cameroon, Niger Republic, and other countries to deal with them. We are also using the Air Force quite effectively. They are bandits and we will continue to treat them as such.”
Through a statement issued by his spokesman (Adesina), the president said that the government was concentrating on repairing damaged infrastructure, the rehabilitation of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), and securing their communities so that they can return home.
He applauded the support of the ICRC and other humanitarian organizations for Nigeria, noting that “the situation of the displaced persons is very pathetic. Some children don’t know where their parents are neither do they know where they come from.
“We are focusing on education and healthcare along with the rebuilding of infrastructure. The agency formerly under the leadership of Gen. Theophilus Danjuma (rtd) and now headed by Maj-Gen. Paul Tarfa (rtd) is quietly making an impression. We are dedicating lots of resources to the area,” he said.
Buhari stated that great progress had also been made in disabusing the minds of people that the insurgents were pursuing a religious cause.
He queried: “How can you kill people and say ‘God is great.’ It’s either you don’t know that God or you don’t know what you are talking about. God is God of justice. And the people have understood the message well, so recruiting is now difficult for the insurgents.”
Mr Maurer said that Nigeria is the 5th largest operation of ICRC worldwide and pledged that the organisation would continue to render humanitarian services to people affected by violence.
On the recent killing of two ICRC workers in the North East, Maurer said: “We are shaken by the killing of our staff, but not discouraged. Humanitarian assistance should continue and we applaud the hospitality of Nigeria.”
He said that the group’s relationship with Nigeria would be strengthened, submitting that “the more we see activity from the Nigerian authorities, the easier it is for us to add here and there.”
Millions Of Nigerians Suffering Because Of Corruption, Says President
Meanwhile, President Buhari has described corruption as the major factor responsible for the suffering of millions of Nigerians.
The president noted that corruption at all levels was the biggest problem impeding Nigeria’s economic growth and development.
He made the assertion yesterday at the 49th annual conference of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) in Abuja.
The theme of the conference was “Building Nigeria for Sustainable Growth and Development.’’
Buhari said: “I urge you now to always see corruption in its true colour as a gross violation of human right. Corruption is the major reason why millions of our people are in hardship, sick and helpless.”
The president said that graft in whatever guise prevents good governance and encourages the misappropriation of public funds, stiffens innovation, infrastructure development and investments.
Represented at the event by the secretary to the government of the federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, the president said: “Our fight against corruption is in reality a struggle for nation building and the future. Corruption and impunity becomes widespread when accountability is disregarded.
“Disrespect for accountability also thrives when people get away with all manner of questionable things and accountants are unable to check them. Corruption is the major reason why many children cannot go to school, why we have a few equipment and doctors in our hospitals.
“Corruption diverts public resources thereby causing much suffering, deprivation and unnecessary death in the country. Therefore, if we do not slay corruption with the passion it deserves, we will not get the result that we need,’’ he said.
Buhari reiterated that the government was committed to achieving structural economic change and a more diversified and inclusive economy.
He said that it was for this reason that he signed many executive orders aimed at improving the business environment in the country.
“We signed Executive Order 7 of 2019 on Road Infrastructure Development and Rehabilitation Investment Tax Credit Scheme. This Executive Order aims to accelerate road infrastructure development for a balanced economic growth in Nigeria by granting approvals to private sector entities to construct and rehabilitate eligible roads across the country.
“This is in exchange for tax credits which will be applied against their company income tax. The motivation for the scheme comes from the desire to take advantage of private sector funding to road development in our country,’’ he said.
Also, the acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Ibrahim Magu, called on Nigerians to join the fight against corruption.
Magu said that the fight against corruption could not be won if it was left to the EFCC and other anti-graft agencies.
In his remark, the president of ICAN, Mr Nnamdi Okwuadigbo, pledged the institute’s commitment to facilitating economic growth and development in the country.
He said: “Now is the time to redeem our image in the comity of nations. We cannot afford to fail as the largest economy in Africa. As chartered accountants, we are at a vantage position to determine the effective use of public funds and we charge you to be front runners in the fight against corruption.”
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