President Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday in Dubai declared that the next four years of his administration will be a harvest and consolidation of successes in the three-point agenda of fixing the economy, fighting insecurity and tackling corruption.
Speaking at a town hall meeting with members of the Nigerian Community in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), President Buhari pledged more government investments in research and development, as well as technology and educational institutions.
Meanwhile, in Nigeria, President Buhari has condemned the recent violence in Kaduna State, which led to the death of 20 members of the Adara community. The deaths were the latest incident between the Adara and Fulani peoples in the state, who have a long history of mistrust between themselves.
The President also condemned the resurgence of cultist killings in Rivers State and ordered increased community and law enforcement action against its escalation.
The President, at the Town Hall meeting in Dubai, according to a statement by Femi Adesina, his Special Adviser (Media & Publicity), also promised that the prudent economic management, diversification of production and revenue bases of the administration in the last four years will be sustained for better prospects for all Nigerians.
‘‘The Next Level is to consolidate whatever we have done till 2023 and it makes common sense that in order to manage any outfit, whether a nation, state or organisation , you have to secure it.
“We all know how many local governments Boko Haram were occupying. People from the North-east know that they are not holding any local government today. They were holding 17 out of the 774 local governments before we came in 2015; they are not holding any now,” the President said.
At the interactive session, the Nigerian leader noted that a key objective of his administration which had yielded positive results, in the last four years, was the campaign for the nation to return to agriculture.
He said the nation cannot afford to lag behind again in agriculture.
“What we did was to encourage agriculture, and fertiliser was made available at half the price.
“We encouraged people to go back to land. The response was excellent. We have virtually achieved food security; we have stopped the importation of rice.
“The money we have saved in foreign exchange is in hundreds of millions of dollars, not even in naira. We are putting that into infrastructure,” the President said.
Responding to a question about the pace of anti-corruption war, the President said: “Whoever calls me Baba-go-slow, I’m very conscious of historical antecedents. You know what happened to me the last time… people [now] have to be proven guilty before they are locked up.”
The President also reflected on the 2019 APC presidential campaign and the outcome of the polls, saying:
“I was very impressed by the turn out of every state to see and hear me. The crowd is more than what you can buy or force to come. Nigerians voluntarily came out.”
Speaking on the situations in Kaduna and Rivers State, through a statement by Garba Shehu, his
Senior Special Assistant (Media and Publicity), President Buhari appealed for peace and decried the on-going culture of ‘an eye for an eye’ that has fuelled a number of attacks and reprisal attacks, with the two communities at different times, suffering casualties in Kajuru and Kachia local governments in Kaduna States, while calling on the security agencies to redouble efforts to stop the cult-related killings in Rivers state.
The President also appealed to indigenes of Kaduna and other Nigerians to refrain from comments in the traditional and social media, especially by people who have little knowledge of the history of the longstanding conflict in Kaduna. Such comments, he said, can fuel further conflict in the area and between the two groups.
President Buhari made a special appeal to traditional and religious leaders to be cautious with their comments on the conflict, insisting that whatever words they share publicly should not be inflammatory but be inspired by an interest in peace.
President Buhari condoled with those who lost loved ones in the attacks: “The entire nation grieves with you. The Nigerian army and police are already in the area to ensure that peace and security are restored.”
In his response to reports of the resurgence of cultism leading to loss of lives in Rivers State, the President called on law enforcement agencies to intensify their efforts to end the menace before it further escalates.
He urged quick and effective intervention by community and civic leaders in support of law enforcement efforts, in all such areas bedeviled by cultist attacks and inter-communal violence.
Meanwhile, President Buhari and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Tuesday reaffirmed the need to work together to further consolidate on the strong relationship and mutual respect between the countries.
President Buhari and the Crown Prince, according to Adesina, met in Abu Dhabi, where they discussed areas of enhancing and expanding mutual cooperation between Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Acknowledging that both countries enjoy significant trade, the leaders agreed that more could be done.
The Nigerian leader and the Crown Prince, who is also the Deputy Supreme Commander of UAE Forces, also discussed education, healthcare, agriculture, climate change and population growth.
As both countries have a large youth population, President Buhari and the Crown Prince exchanged ideas on creating an enabling environment for future generations.
Furthermore, the leaders exchanged views on diversification of their economies from oil as well as the security challenges confronting both Africa and the Middle East.
The Crown Prince congratulated the President on his re-election and prayed for a successful second tenure.
He also expressed the commitment of UAE to increase their investments in Nigeria.