We “ll persuade Niger Delta militants to dialogue rather than fight – President Buhari
Rather than fight for the control oil resources in the Niger Delta, the government would persuade the agitators to dialogue and agree on measures to manage them, President Muhammadu Buhari has said.
The president also expressed gratitude to God for making the farm harvest in 2016 bountiful, saying that it was the only out of economic recession amidst the crash of oil prices.
The president spoke on Sunday when some residents of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja led by the Minister of FCT, Mallam Mohammed Bello paid him Christmas homage at his official residence within the precinct of the Presidential Villa.
President Muhammadu Buhari flanked by FCT Senator Philip Aduda as Minister of FCT, Mallam Muhammad Musa Bello presents a giant Christmas Card during Christmas homage at his Residence in Abuja.
President who remarked that the security of the country was paramount to its development regretted that most of his campaign promises were yet to be met.
He appealed to Nigerians for patience, stressing that he has not forgotten them.
He said: “I think it is good to select objectives and be honest about it and work towards it. It is now almost 18 months since we resumed here. We are very lucky. I believe some of you followed us during our campaigns and what we identified are still fundamentals problems.
“The first is security, and we kept on saying whether it is an organization or a country, we have to first secure it before we can manage it properly. Without security, nothing can work.
“Secondly, the economy and the unemployment of able bodied persons. We look at left and right, from 1999 to 2014, the crude production was over 2.2m barrels per day. The average cost per barrel was $100.
“When we came, it was $37. I think it is now between $40 and $50. I asked for savings, there was no saving. I asked what they used the money to buy. They said they bought food and oil. I do not know how long it took me to recover from the shock.
“Some of you will recall either by history or discussion that it was cocoa, palm kernel, cotton, agro-allied industry that we used to build infrastructures; be it rail or school.
“We also used the produce to develop oil. When we got the oil, we threw everything away. We thank God this year, the harvest was quite good, otherwise, I do not know what we would have done. No money saved, no infrastructure built, power is still our main problem. Old roads have dilapidated and they needed to be repaired from Lagos to Kano, Port Harcourt up to Maiduguri. There are rail lines, we want to develop from Lagos to Calabar, from Lagos to Kaduna and the Abuja one.
“If we can get the infrastructure done, we cannot even know the number of Nigerians that will get job. So we have to get infrastructure. It will take tankers and other articulated vehicles off the road. We will save vehicles and we will save lives and we will get jobs for a lot of Nigerians.
“I want you to talk to people to be patient with the government. We are always thinking about our country and we are thinking about our people.
“God has given Nigerians. A lot of preachers and resources both human and materials, we better do the same thing for our children and grandchildren.
“I assure you that the country and the people of the country are always uppermost in our minds. Our performance in the North East, Nigerians know that this government is serious.
“For our friends in the Niger Delta area, we will persuade them that they should please sit down with us and agree to manage our resources rather than think of fighting it out.”
Earlier in his opening remarks, the FCT Minister, Muhammed Bello commended Buhari on the success achieved by the Nigerian military in the Sambisa Forest last week.
“We are very proud of this milestone and we prayed that Boko Haram never rear its head in any part of the country again,” he said.
Also, the Chairman of the Christians Association of Nigeria, FCT branch, Rev. Jonah Samson remarked that the president’s anti-corruption had paid off, expressing optimism that the impact would outlive the present administration.
“Corruption is a cankerworm. It is a terrible thing that we must kill. We urge you to ensure that the war continues. It should not end during this administration.
“We thank God for the victory over Boko Haram. It is a thing of joy worthy of celebration’, he said.
Highlights of the courtesy call were the presentation of a giant xmas card to Buhari by the FCT Minister and his aides and also the presentation of a Xmas greeting card and a locally-made artworks by the representatives of the Aso Villa Chapel.
Other members of the delegation were the Archbishop of Catholic Diocese, John Onayikan, Bishop of Anglican Diocese, Abuja, Nicholas Okoh, some Muslim leaders, National Assembly members, traditional rulers, top government officials and security chiefs.
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