/> President Buhari's Independence Day Speech to Nigerians | Welcome to praizeblog
 

Today – 1st October is a day of celebration for
us Nigerians. On this day, 56 years ago our
people achieved the most important of all
human desires – freedom and independence. We
should all therefore give thanks and pray for our
founding fathers without whose efforts and toil
we would not reap the bounties of today.
2. I know that uppermost in your minds today is
the economic crisis. The recession for many
individuals and families is real. For some It
means not being able to pay school fees, for
others it’s not being able to afford the high cost
of food (rice and millet) or the high cost of local
or international travel, and for many of our young
people the recession means joblessness,
sometimes after graduating from university or
polytechnic.
3. I know how difficult things are, and how rough
business is. All my adult life I have always
earned a salary and I know what it is like when
your salary simply is not enough. In every part of
our nation people are making incredible
sacrifices.
4. But let me say to all Nigerians today, I ran for
office four times to make the point that we can
rule this nation with honesty and transparency,
that we can stop the stealing of Nigeria’s
resources so that the resources could be used to
provide jobs for our young people, security,
infrastructure for commerce, education and
healthcare.
5. I ran for office because I know that good
government is the only way to ensure prosperity
and abundance for all. I remain resolutely
committed to this objective.
6. I believe that this recession will not last.
7. Temporary problems should not blind or divert
us from the corrective course this government
has charted for our nation. We have identified
the country’s salient problems and we are
working hard at lasting solutions.
8. To re-cap what I have been saying since the
inception of this administration, our problems are
security, corruption and the economy, especially
unemployment and the alarming level of poverty.
9. On Security, we have made progress. Boko
Haram was defeated by last December – only
resorting to cowardly attacks on soft targets,
killing innocent men, women and children.
10. Nigerians should thank our gallant men of
the Armed Forces and Police for rescuing large
areas of the country captured by insurgents.
Now, residents in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa
States, as well as several neighbouring states go
about their daily business in relative safety.
People can go to mosques, churches, market
places in reasonable safety.
11. Commuters can travel between cities, towns
and villages without fear. Credit for this
remarkable turn-round should go to our Armed
Forces, the Police, various sponsored and private
vigilante groups, the local traditional leaders.
Security is a top to bottom concern and
responsibility.
12. Besides Boko Haram, we are confronting
other long-running security issues, namely
herdsmen vs farmers, cattle rustling,
kidnappings. This Administration is firmly
resolved to tackle these challenges and to
defeat them.
13. A new insurgency has reared up its head in
the shape of blowing up gas and oil pipelines by
groups of Niger Delta Militants. This
Administration will not allow these mindless
groups to hold the country to ransom.
14. What sense is there to damage a gas line as
a result of which many towns in the country
including their own town or village is put in
darkness as a result? What logic is there in
blowing up an export pipeline and as a result
income to your state and local governments and
consequently their ability to provide services to
your own people is reduced?
15. No group can unlawfully challenge the
authority of the Federal Government and
succeed. Our Administration is fully sympathetic
to the plight of the good people of Niger Delta
and we are in touch with the State Governments
and leaderships of the region. It is known that
the clean-up of the Ogoniland has started.
Infrastructural projects financed by the Federal
Government and post amnesty programme
financing will continue.
16. We have however, continued to dialogue with
all groups and leaders of thought in the region to
bring lasting peace.
17. Corruption is a cancer which must be fought
with all the weapons at our disposal. It corrodes
the very fabric of government and destroys
society. Fighting corruption is Key, not only to
restoring the moral health of the nation, but also
to freeing our enormous resources for urgent
socio-economic development.
18. In fighting corruption, however, the
government would adhere strictly by the rule of
law. Not for the first time I am appealing to the
judiciary to join the fight against corruption.
19. The Third Plank in this Administration’s drive
to CHANGE Nigeria is re-structuring the
economy. Economies behaviour is cyclical. All
countries face ups and downs. Our own
recession has been brought about by a critical
shortage of foreign exchange. Oil price dropped
from an average of hundred USD per barrel over
the last decade to an average of forty USD per
barrel this year and last.
20. Worse still, the damage perpetrated by Niger
Delta thugs on pipelines sometimes reduced
Nigeria’s production to below One million barrels
per day against the normal two point two million
barrels per day. Consequently, the naira is at its
weakest, but the situation will stabilize.
21. But this is only temporary. Historically about
half our dollar export earnings go to importation
of petroleum and food products! Nothing was
saved for the rainy days during the periods of
prosperity. We are now reaping the whirlwinds of
corruption, recklessness and impunity.
22. There are no easy solutions, but there are
solutions nonetheless and Government is
pursuing them in earnest. We are to repair our
four refineries so that Nigeria can produce most
of our petrol requirements locally, pending the
coming on stream of new refineries. That way
we will save ten billion USD yearly in importing
fuel.
23. At the same time, the Federal Ministry of
Agriculture and the Central Bank have been
mobilized to encourage local production of rice,
maize, sorghum, millet and soya beans. Our
target is to achieve domestic self-sufficiency in
these staples by 2018.
24. Already farmers in thirteen out of thirty six
states are receiving credit support through the
Central Bank of Nigeria’s Anchor Borrowers
Programme. Kebbi state alone this year is
expected to produce one million tonnes of locally
grown rice, thanks to a favourable harvest this
year. As part of the 13 states, Lagos and Ogun
are also starting this programme. Rice alone for
example costs Nigeria two billion USD to import.
25. The country should be self-sufficient in basic
staples by 2019. Foreign exchange thus saved
can go to industrial revival requirements for
retooling, essential raw materials and spare
parts. It is in recognition of the need to re-
invigorate agriculture in our rural communities
that we are introducing the LIFE programme.
26. Government recognises that irrigation is key
to modern agriculture: that is why the Ministries
of Agriculture and Water Resources are
embarking on a huge programme of development
of lakes, earth dams and water harvesting
schemes throughout the country to ensure that
we are no longer dependent on rain-fed
agriculture for our food requirements.
27. In addition, government is introducing Water
Resources Bill encompassing the National Water
Resources Policy and National Irrigation and
Drainage Policy to improve management of water
and irrigation development in the country. We
are reviving all the twelve River Basin
Authorities, namely;
I. Anambra – Imo
II. Benin – Owena
III. Chad Basin
IV. Cross River
V. Hadejia – Jama’are
VI. Lower Benue
VII. Lower Niger
VIII. Niger Delta
IX. Ogun – Osun
X. Sokoto – Rima
XI. Upper Benue
XII. Upper Niger
28. The intention is eventually to fully
commercialise them to better support crop
production, aqua –culture and accelerated rural
development.
29. This Administration is committed to the
revival of Lake Chad and improvement of the
hydrology and ecology of the basin. This will
tune in with efforts to rehabilitate the thirty
million people affected by the Boko Haram
insurgency in the Lake Chad basin countries.
30. The second plank in our economic revival
strategy is centred on the Ministry of Power,
Works and Housing. The Ministry will lead and
oversee the provision of critical infrastructure of
power, road transport network and housing
development.
31. Power generation has steadily risen since our
Administration came on board from three
thousand three hundred and twenty four
megawatts in June 2015, rising to a peak of five
thousand and seventy four megawatts in
February 2016.
32. For the first time in our history the country
was producing five thousand megawatts.
However, renewed militancy and destruction of
gas pipelines caused acute shortage of gas and
constant drop in electricity output available on
the grid.
33. There has been during the period June 2015
to September 2016 big improvement in
transmission capacity from five thousand five
hundred megawatts to the present seven
thousand three hundred megawatts.
34. There were only two system collapses
between June and December 2015, but due to
vandalism by Niger Delta militants the over-all
system suffered 16 system collapses between
March and July 2016 alone. As I have said
earlier, we are engaging with responsible
leadership in the region to find lasting solutions
to genuine grievances of the area but we will
not allow a tiny minority of thugs to cripple the
country’s economy.
35. In the meantime, government is going ahead
with projects utilizing alternate technologies such
as hydro, wind, and solar to contribute to our
energy mix. In this respect, the Mambilla Hydro
project, after many years of delay is taking off
this year. Contract negotiations are nearing
completion with Chinese firms for technical and
financial commitments.
36. The project is to be jointly financed by
Nigeria and the Chinese-Export-Import Bank. In
addition, fourteen Solar Power Projects have had
their power purchase agreements concluded.
Hence the plan to produce one thousand two
hundred megawatts of solar electricity for the
country would be realized on schedule.
37. And in line with the objective of government
to complete all abandoned projects across the
country, the Rural Electrification Agency’s
projects needing completion are provided for in
the 2016 Budget. Bringing electricity to rural
areas will help farmers, small scale and cottage
industries to integrate with the national
economy.
38. Roads Construction and Rehabilitation has
taken off. The sum of twelve billion naira was
allocated to this sector in the 2015 Budget, not
enough even to pay interest on outstanding
unpaid claims.
39. Notwithstanding the budgetary constraints,
the current budget allocated two hundred and
forty billion naira for highway projects against
twelve billion naira in 2015. Many contractors
who have not been paid for three years have
now remobilized to sites. Seven hundred and
twenty point five billion naira has so far been
released this budget year to capital projects.
40. The Ministry of Power, Works and Housing
has received one hundred and ninety seven point
five billion naira. Work on the following highways
has now resumed.
1. Dualization of Calabar – Itu Road in Cross
River/Akwa Ibom States.
2. Dualization of Lokoja – Benin Road, Ehor –
Benin city, Edo State.
3. Re-construction of outstanding sections of
Benin – Shagamu Express way, Edo/Ogun
States.
4. Expansion works on Lagos – Ibadan Dual
carriageway, Ogun/Oyo States
5. Rehabilitation of Onitsha – Enugu Expressway,
Anambra/Enugu States.
6. Rehabilitation and Reconstruction of Enugu –
Port Harcourt Dual carriageway, Abia/Rivers
States.
7. Rehabilitation of Hadejia – Nguru Road,
Jigawa State.
8. Dualization of Kano – Katsina Road, Kano
State.
9. Dualization of Kano – Maiduguri Road, Borno
State.
10. Dualization of Azare – Potiskum Road, Azare
– Sharuri Road, Bauchi State.
11. Rehabilitation of Ilorin – Jebba – Mokwa –
Birnin Gwari Road, Kwara State.
12. Construction of Oju/Lokoja – Oweto Bridge
over River Benue, Benue State.
41. Other major highways are in the queue for
rehabilitation or new construction.
42. Already contractors have recalled about nine
thousand workers laid off and Government
expects that several hundreds of thousands of
workers will be reengaged in the next few
months as our public works programme gains
momentum.
43. On railways, we have provided our
counterpart funding to China for the building of
our standard gauge Lagos -Kano railway.
Meanwhile, General Electric is investing two
point two billion USD in a concession to revamp,
provide rolling stock, and manage the existing
lines, including the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri Line.
The Lagos-Calabar railway will also be on stream
soon.
44. We have initiated the National Housing
Programme. In 2014 four hundred million naira
was voted for Housing. In 2015 nothing. Our first
budget this year is devoting thirty five point six
billion naira. Much of the house building will be
private – sector led but Government is initiating
a pilot housing scheme of two thousand eight
hundred and thirty eight units uniformly spread
across the 36 states and FCT.
45. We expect these units to be completed
within 4 – 6 months. These experimental Nigeria
House model Units will be constructed using only
made in Nigeria building materials and
components. This initiative is expected to
reactivate the building materials manufacturing
sector, generate massive employment
opportunities and develop sector capacity and
expertise.
46. The programmes I have outlined will revive
the economy, restore the value of the naira and
drive hunger from our land.
47. Abroad, Nigeria’s standing has changed
beyond belief in the last 18 months. We are no
longer a pariah state. Wherever I go, I have been
received with un-accustomed hospitality.
Investors from all over the world are falling over
themselves to come and do business in Nigeria.
This government intends to make business
environment more friendly because we can not
develop ourselves alone.
48. All countries, no matter how advanced,
welcome foreign investments to their economy.
This is the essence of globalization and no
country in the 21st century can be an island. Our
reforms are therefore designed to prepare
Nigeria for the 21st century.
49. Finally, let me commend Nigerians for your
patience, steadfastness and perseverance. You
know that I am trying to do the right things for
our country.
50. Thank you and may God bless our country.

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