As Nigeria celebrates 57 years of independence, President Buhari addressed the Nation in a 7:00am televised address. The speech was broadcast live by several Television channels.
According to a Channels TV report, President Buhari, who described today as a day for celebration and thanksgiving, warned that irresponsible people were trying to take advantage of the recent calls for restructuring.
“Recent calls on re-structuring, quite proper in a legitimate debate, has let in highly irresponsible groups to call for dismemberment of the country. We can not and we will not allow such advocacy,” he said.
According to the President, proper dialogue and any desired constitutional changes should take place in a rational manner, at the national and state assemblies.
“These are the proper and legal fora for national debate, not some lop-sided, un-democratic body with pre-determined set of objectives,” said.
The President called on those who witnessed the country’s civil war and community leaders to warn young people in their communities of the dangers of their action, adding that the silence of some leaders has been disappointing.
He, however, thanked the leaders of communities in the Niger Delta for working to achieve peace in the region.
“Government is keeping up the momentum of dialogue with stakeholders in the Niger Delta to keep the peace. We intend to address genuine grievances of the communities,” he said.Government is grateful to the responsible leadership of those communities and will pursue lasting peace in the Niger Delta.
For the President, the most pressing challenge is for the country to first be secured, the economy re-balanced “so that we do not depend on oil alone”, and to fight corruption “which is Nigeria’s Number One Enemy”.
He assured Nigerians that the APC government’s campaign promise to restore security, re-balance the economy and fight corruption was not all rhetoric and that a lot has been done to fulfil the promise.
In keeping with the promise, he informed Nigerians that progress has been made security-wise in the war against insurgency and the release of 106 of the abducted Chibok girls.
He added, “Government is working round the clock to ensure the release of the remaining Chibok girls, as well as other persons in Boko Haram captivity.
“Government will continue to support the Armed Forces and other security agencies to fight not only terrorism, but kidnapping, armed robberies, herdsmen/farmers violence and to ensure peace, stability and security in our country.”
President Buhari also said significant progress has been made in the war against corruption and in reviving the economy.
He said the release of bailout funds to state governments, programmes such as the Federal Government’s agriculture anchor borrowers programme, local manufacture of seven million tonnes of fertiliser since December last year and increased power generation, among other efforts, have helped to stabilise the economy.
The President assured Nigerians that more efforts would be made to improve their fortunes going forward.
“As we enter the second half of our term of office, we intend to accelerate progress and intensify our resolve to fix the country’s challenges and problems,” he said.