President Mohammadu Buhari speech during the democracy day celebration

My Dear Nigerians!
Today marks the 19th year of our nascent democracy and the 3rd
Anniversary of this administration. I am thankful to Almighty God
for bringing us thus far. This administration came at a time that
Nigerians needed Change, the Change we promised and the
Change we continue to deliver. We have faced a lot of challenges
on this journey and Nigerians have stood by us in achieving the
three cardinal points of this administration namely; Security,
Corruption and the Economy.

The commemoration of this year’s Democracy Day is a
celebration of freedom, a salute to the resilience and determination
of Nigerians and a recommitment by Government to keep its
promise to lead Nigeria into a new era of justice and prosperity.
Public safety and security remains the primary duty of this
Government. Before this Administration came into being 3 years
ago, Boko Haram held large areas of land spanning several Local
Governments in the North East.

Today, the capacity of the insurgents has been degraded leading
to the re-establishment of authority of government and the release
of captives including, happily, 106 Chibok and 104 Dapchi girls, and
over 16,000 other persons held by the Boko Haram.

In order to minimize the impact of the insurgency on Internally
Displaced Persons, Government has established secure IDP
Camps and has improved the mechanism for the distribution of
basic aid, foods and essential commodities using various
strategies in collaboration with local and international
Organizations.

Efforts are in process for resettlement of IDPs in their home
communities by providing schools, hospitals, clinics, water and
sanitation to facilitate a quick return to economic activities.
Government is similarly implementing de-radicalization and
rehabilitation programmes to facilitate sustainable peace and
development.

The unfortunate incidences of kidnappings, herdsmen and
farmers clashes in several communities which have led to high
number of fatalities and loss of properties across the country is
being addressed and the identified culprits and their sponsors shall
be made to face the full wrath of the law. All the three tiers of
Government are presently engaged with communities and religious
organizations to restore peaceful co-existence among Nigerians.
I want to commend members of the Multinational Joint Task
Force drawn from Niger, Benin, Chad, Cameroon and our own
country in collaboration with the International Community who are
assisting in the fight against insurgency in the North East. I also
commend the gallantry of members of our Armed Forces and other
security agencies that have continued to provide security for lives
and properties across the country. State and Local traditional
authorities are helping with much needed intelligence in this fight
against insurgency.

This administration is pained over the grievous loss of lives and
properties occasioned by the carnage of insurgency and other
forms of criminality in the country. I wish to assure Nigerians that
we will not rest until all criminal elements and their sponsors are
brought to justice. Government is boosting the capacity of our
security agencies through recruitment of more personnel, training
and procurement of modern equipment, enhancement of
intelligence gathering as well as boosting their morale in the face
of daunting challenges.

The Niger Delta Region has enjoyed relative peace through
social inclusiveness and cooperation of the Elders and the good
people of the region. Government is committed to implementing
the comprehensive peace, security and development plan for the
region. The environmental clean-up of the region which
commenced with the launch in Bodo, Ogoni in June, 2016 is
progressing satisfactorily. Furthermore farming assets are being
revived and investors in cocoa and palm oil plantations are
showing serious interest.

The second primary object of this Administration is to fight
corruption headlong. Like I have always said, if we don’t kill
corruption, corruption will destroy the country. Three years into this
Administration, Nigerians and the international community have
begun to applaud our policies and determination to fight
corruption. We are more than ever before determined to win this
war, however hard the road is. I therefore appeal to all well-
meaning Nigerians to continue to support us in this fight.
Various policy measures already put in place to stem the tide
of corrupt practices are yielding remarkable results. Some of these
key reform policies include:

The Treasury Single Account (TSA) has realized Billions of Naira
being saved from maintenance fee payable to banks. N200 Billion
has also been saved from elimination of ghost workers in public
service.
The Whistle-Blowing Policy has helped to recover over N500
Billion;
The Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit set up with a
mandate to validate controls, assess risks, prune personnel costs,
ensure compliance with Public Financial Management reforms has
helped to identify and remove over 52,000 ghost workers from the
Federal Government MDAs Payroll;

The Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS)
aimed at expanding tax education and awareness has offered the
opportunity for tax defaulters to regularise their status in order to
enjoy the amnesty of forgiveness on overdue interest, penalties
and the assurance of non-prosecution or subject to tax
investigations.

The Sovereign Wealth Fund project portfolio has been expanded
with an injection of US$650 million so as to strengthen its
investment in local infrastructure, power, health, re-construction of
Abuja-Kano road, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, East West Road
(Section V) and the Mambilla Hydro-electric Power project as well
as the construction of the 2nd Niger Bridge.

The fight against corruption through the Economic and
Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt
Practices and Other Related Offences Commission has resulted in
recoveries of Billions of Naira, as well as forfeiture of various
forms of assets. This alongside other efforts has improved
Nigeria’s international image and regional cooperation.
We have retained the services of one of the world’s leading
assets tracing firms to investigate and trace assets globally. This
is in addition to the exploitation of provisions of existing Treaties,
Conventions as well as Bilateral Agreements with Multilateral
bodies and Nations. Nigeria has also signed Mutual Legal
Assistance Agreements to ensure that there is no hiding place for
fugitives.

This Administration has therefore focused on revamping the
ailing economy it inherited in 2015. In 2016, Government executed
an expansionary budget and developed the Strategic
Implementation Plan. For the first time, 30% of the budget was
earmarked for capital expenditure which represents an upward
review when compared with the 2015 budget. The SIP was
followed by the development of a comprehensive medium term
plan – the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan 2017 – 2020.
The broad strategic objectives of the ERGP were to; Restore
and sustain economic growth; Build a globally competitive
economy; and Invest in our people. The implementation of the
ERGP has started yielding results. The National Bureau of
Statistics reports that the economy grew by 1.95% in 1st quarter
2018, which is a good performance when viewed against -0.91 in
1st quarter 2017 and -0.67% in 1st quarter 2016 respectively.
Our foreign reserve has improved significantly to 47.5 billion
USD as of May, 2018 as against 29.6 billion USD in 2015. The
inflationary rate has consistently declined every month since
January, 2017.

Recently, Government conducted Focus Labs in three key
sectors of the Economy namely, Agriculture & Transport,
Manufacturing and Processing as well as Power and Gas. These
have yielded significant prospects for investments and Job
creation to the tune of US$ 22.5 billion with a potential for creating
more than 500,000 jobs by 2020. These investment generation
initiatives are expected to increase capital inflows in the form of
foreign direct investment. There is a high prospect that the
cumulative investments from this first phase of the Labs will hit
US$39.2 billion by 2025.

Under agriculture, Nigeria continues to pursue a strategic food
security programme built around self-sufficiency and minimization
of import dependency. As a result, rice importation from other
countries has been cut down by 90% which has a direct impact on
foreign reserves.

The Social Investment Programmes (SIP) has been created as
a means to graduating our citizens from poverty through capacity
building, investment and direct support. The major strategic
objective is to restore livelihood, economic opportunities and
sustenance for the poor across the country. The SIP programmes
and projects include:

Home Grown School Feeding Programme – About 8.2 million pupils
are currently being fed from 24 States of the Federation with over
75,000 Catering Staff engaged under the programme.
The Conditional Cash Transfer has so far recorded over 297,000
caregivers and being trained by 2,495 Community Facilitators in 21
states. Less privileged Nigerians are now being paid N5,000
monthly stipend in 9 pilot States of Bauchi, Borno, Cross River,
Ekiti, Kwara, Kogi, Niger, Osun and Oyo. Eventually the scheme will
cover all the 36 states of the federation including the FCT.
Under the Government Enterprise Empowerment Programme –
About 264,269 loans had been disbursed to 4,822 societies in the
36 States and FCT, while another 370,635 are awaiting release of
funds.

N-Power Job creation Scheme – is targeted at providing jobs for
unemployed young graduates and has so far recruited 200,000
youths while the next batch of 300,000 have been selected, verified
and would soon be deployed across the 36 States and the FCT.
Furthermore, 20,000 non-graduate volunteers have also been
selected to kick off the N-Build programme in collaboration with
the National Automotive Design and Development Council and the
Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria.

In the area of power generation, Nigerians from all parts of the
country continue to report better power supply and less use of
generators. This underscores the effectiveness of the methodical
plan to deliver incremental and uninterrupted power supply to our
homes, markets, offices and factories.

The country achieved 5, 222.3 MW representing the highest
peak of power generated onto the national grid and delivered to
customers in December, 2017. With new facilities, repairs and
rehabilitations by Government and private investors, generation
capability now exceeds 7,500 MW.

This Administration is committed to lawful interventions to
ensure the operators of the distribution business live up to
expectations especially in the areas of distribution capacity,
service delivery, collection efficiency, and metering to eliminate
contentious estimated billing.

The Transportation Sector continues to undergo a series of
reforms in order to sustain the international best practices and
ensure safety and security. The nation’s major airports have
witnessed reconstruction of runways, installation of navigational
equipment and new international terminals due for commissioning
in Abuja, Lagos, Kano and Enugu. Bilateral Air Services
Agreements between Nigeria and the Governments of other
countries will significantly open up new flight routes.

As a result of strict regulatory and compliance policies, Nigeria
retained her Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Category 1
status, after a routine international audit. Recently, a new
Maintenance Repair and Overhaul facility with capacity for aircraft
C-checks and other comprehensive levels of maintenance was
established in Lagos. This would save the country an estimated
$90m annually.

Giant strides have been recorded over the past three years to
improve road transport infrastructure in all geopolitical zones of
the country.
The Railway Sector has also received tremendous attention as
this Administration is committed to the goal of linking all State
capitals in the Federation by rail network to ease the movement of
goods and passengers.
The Education Sector especially at tertiary level has continued
to witness expansion in order to improve access to higher
education by millions of youths in Nigeria. Over the last three
years, Government has approved the establishment of 1 new
Federal Polytechnic, granted licenses for the establishment of 4
State and 14 private-owned Universities as well as 12 private
Polytechnics.

Government has also continued to support the implementation
of various initiatives aimed at improving the quality of Basic
Education delivery. Thus, it has ensured proper funding at the
Basic Education level with the disbursement of N42.2 billion UBE
Matching Grant to 26 States and the FCT, N851.5 million Special
Education Grant disbursed to 23 States and private providers of
Special Education and N2.2 billion Teachers Professional
Development Fund to 33 States and the FCT.

The Federal Government has continued to support fiscal
sustainability at the sub-national governments through the
implementation of the Budget Support Facility which was
accompanied by the 22- point Fiscal Sustainability Plan. Thus,
bailouts funds were made available to States to ease their fiscal
challenges and other obligations including payment of salaries.
In addition, a total of 73 Ecological Fund projects for the
control of gully erosion in different communities across all
geopolitical zones have been completed in the last three years and
are undergoing commissioning while 53 other projects are
ongoing. The execution of these projects has generated 357 skilled
jobs and 1,350 unskilled jobs during this period.
It is pertinent to also make mention of the immeasurable
contributions of the Nigerian woman to national development and
advancement of democracy, over the last three years. The
government and people appreciate you all as mothers of our great
country.

My dear country men and women, as we all celebrate our
democratic experience, let us resolve to avoid hatred and
intolerance; we can only achieve our objectives in an atmosphere
of harmony and peaceful co-existence.
Finally, the up-coming months will usher us into another
season of general elections. Let me use this opportunity to urge us
all to conduct ourselves, our wards and our constituencies with the
utmost sense of fairness, justice and peaceful co-existence such
that we will have not only hitch free elections but also a credible
and violence free process.

In few days to come, I will be joined by many promising young
Nigerians to sign into law the “Not Too Young to Run” Bill
I thank you for your attention. God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

4 Comments

  1. Good update

  2. Alright

  3. Ok

  4. OK

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