By John Ikani
President Muhammadu Buhari in the early hours of Friday, October 1, addressed Nigerians on the occasion of this year’s independence anniversary. The president in his 40-minute address, spoke about the state of the nation among other critical issues of national interest.
Heritage Times lists 8 key highlights from the president’s speech below:
1. On general state of the nation:
President Muhammadu Buhari stated that the past 18 months have been the most challenging in the history of Nigeria.
2. On secessionist agitations:
President Buhari warned that the Federal Government remains ready to take decisive actions against secessionist agitators and their sponsors who threaten national security. According to him, his administration has already identified high profile financiers of the agitators, including a serving member of the National Assembly.
3. On irresponsible journalism:
The president warned media houses in Nigeria to stop reporting irresponsible remarks. According to the president, irresponsible reportage have planted the seeds of violence in the heads of Nigerians. He warned that reckless utterances of a few have led to losses of many innocent lives and destruction of properties.
4. On insecurity:
President Buhari saluted the gallant men and women of the military and other security agencies for recording “tremendous progress’’ in the ongoing battles against insurgents and bandits across the country.
He said the Armed Forces had recruited over 17,000 personnel across all ranks to support the fight against bandits and insurgents. The president further disclosed that approval has been given to the Nigeria Police Force to recruit 10,000 personnel annually over the next six years.
5. On increasing rate of poverty:
Buhari reiterated that he is committed to lifting 100m Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years. The president said he has approved the increase in the number of N-Power program beneficiaries from 500,000 to 1,000,000.
6. On 5G adoption and NIN registration:
Buhari said efforts to ensure all Nigerians have a National Identity Number NIN as well as the planned roll-out of the fifth generation technology “will ensure we stay in line with the global innovation curve as a Nation”.
He told citizens that as the nation embraces digital economy, the authorities are fully aware of the prospects and the perils. Buhari added that policies have been developed to enable Nigerians take advantage of the prospects and avoid the dangers of digital technologies.
7. On hike in food prices
Buhari blamed Nigeria’s middlemen for the country’s rising food prices. According to him, “as our food production capacity has increased, food prices have been going up due to artificial shortages created by middlemen who have been buying and hoarding these essential commodities for profiteering.”
The president directed the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to rehabilitate the National Food Reserve Agency to address the continued rise in food prices. He also tasked the food agency to work with security agencies, the Nigerian Commodity Exchange, and the National Assembly to devise lasting solutions to these disruptive and unpatriotic hoarding activities.
8. On his administration’s achievements:
Buhari said his government has been able to solve some of the problems he inherited from his predecessors in office According to him, his administration has tackled our problems head-on in spite of the meagre resources. “No government since 1999 has done what we have done in six years to put Nigeria back on track. We shall continue to serve the country,” he said.