By John Ikani
President Buhari has granted an interview with the Nigerian Television Authority NTA, addressing the nation’s security crisis and other issues.
A brief statement earlier issued by the Special Adviser, Media and Publicity to the President, Femi Adesina urged Nigerians to watch the interview by 8:30pm, stressing that it would be revealing.
In the pre-recorded 30-minute interview, the Nigerian leader addressed issues revolving around the nation’s economy and security challenges confronting it.
President Buhari also spoke on the fight against corruption, desires for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), among other pressing issues.
1. On Economy
Buhari lamented over the state of Nigeria’s worsening economy, stressing that he is not comfortable with it.
He also urged Nigerians to take up Agriculture in a bid to boost the economy.
According to him: “I’m not comfortable with Nigeria’s economy and that is why I’m working hard to get foreign nations to invest in our country.
“We need people to go back to the farm, there are people leaving their air conditioned office and going back to the farm and this has helped us as a country.”
2. On Fighting Corruption
The President acknowledged that corruption remained a nagging problem and decried the difficulty of dealing with it under a democracy.
“It is difficult under this system,” he said. “When I was a bit younger, I arrested politicians and put them under restriction and told them they were guilty until proven innocent.”
However, he said majority of Nigerians believe his administration was doing its best under the circumstance.
He advocated for the creation of special courts to deal with corruption, noting that such an institution would speed up the hearing of financial misappropriation cases and ensure criminals do not cheat justice.
3. ‘Security is Key’
The President argued on Friday that his administration was committed to securing the country from all forms of violence, including banditry and terrorism.
The number one thing is security, the President said, because if you don’t secure Nigeria, people will not invest.
Buhari said he hopes Nigeria will be secure, prosperous and confident by the time he leaves office in 2023.
4. Treating bandits with kid gloves?
He said those accusing him of sparing bandits and terrorists in Nigeria are being unfair.
According to the President, he is also treating bandits and insurgents in the language they understand.
5. Reason for heavy security presence in South east
He said it was unfair to conclude that the police and military action currently ongoing in the South-East was a result of his dislike of the region.
“We have been deploying police and army to deal with bandits” in the North, the President said.
6. Challenges bedeviling fight against insecurity
While stressing that security had improved since 2015, he said his administration still faces the challenge of acquiring the required weaponry and ammunitions to fight crime in all facets.
7. On recent arrest of alleged financiers of terrorism
Buhari said individuals who finance terrorism in various parts of the country do so to remain relevant.
The president, while responding to a question about the alleged financiers of terrorism his administration recently apprehended, stated that most of them are wealthy individuals who are no longer relevant in government.
Recall that about 400 businessmen, including bureau de change operators, were recently arrested for allegedly funding Boko Haram terrorists.
Buhari said such people will be made to face the law.
“Their motive is that they are made irrelevant and they want to use their resources they accumulated over the years to prove that they are still around and the administration will deal with them. Anybody caught will be dealt with,” the president said.
8. On attack on security operatives and infrastructure
Buhari reiterated his stand against those burning police stations and creating unrest in the country, vowing his government will arrest, try and jail those found to be culpable of such offences.
He said, “How can you go to the police station, kill the police if they are there, loot the armoury and burn it what do u want to achieve, how can you go to the prison and free criminals that have been tried through the legal system.”
“what I would do is to arrest them, try them, give them bad publicity and jail them so people will know that when they misbehave they will not get away with it”, He said.
9. On perceived third term agenda
Buhari said he is committed to stepping down in 2023 and has no third term agenda, as the constitution allows for only two terms.
10. Desires for APC
The president also noted that he wants the All Progressives Congress, APC, to remain in power as long as possible.
According to him, the success of his administration will depend on the survival of his party, the All Progressives Congress, after 2023.
Buhari said: “Yes, we are preparing APC to remain in power for as long as possible. From local government to state and even to Abuja, we are the party to be in control.