1 Oct 2017

Call for Restructuring Proper but Hijacked by Secessionists - Buhari Promises to Address Grievances

President Muhammadu Buhari has said the call for restructuring Nigeria is proper, adding that he'll surely address it, but regretted that it has been hijacked by secessionists.
President Muhammadu Buhari
In his Independence Day broadcast to mark the nation’s 57th anniversary, President Muhammadu Buhari, said despite the trials and tribulations the country has gone through, October 1st remains a special date for all Nigerians as it marks the day when “we attained one of the most precious of human desires — freedom.”

Buhari noted that while 1999 – 2015, remains a period the country returned to democratic rule, it was also the period the country squandered resources when prices of oil sold at an average of $100 per barrel and production peaked at about 2.1 million barrels a day.

According to him, “We were left with no savings and huge infrastructure deficit.”

The President stressed that the country must “first be secured. The economy must be re-balanced so that we do not depend on oil alone. We must fight corruption which is Nigeria’s number one enemy. Our Administration is tackling these tasks in earnest,” adding that it was gratifying in the past two years, Nigeria has recorded appreciable gains in political freedom.

“A political party at the centre losing elections of state governor, National Assembly seat and even State Assemblies to the opposition parties is new to Nigeria. Added to these are complete freedom to associate, to hold and disseminate opinions. Such developments clearly attest to the country’s growing political development. But like all freedoms, this is open to abuse.”

President Muhammadu Buhari also said the call for restructuring Nigeria is proper but regretted that it’s been hijacked by secessionists.

He said: “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.

“As a young Army Officer, I took part from the beginning to the end in our tragic civil war costing about 2m lives, resulting in fearful destruction and untold suffering. Those who are agitating for a re-run were not born by 1967 and have no idea of the horrendous consequences of the civil conflict which we went through.

“I am very disappointed that responsible leaders of these communities do not warn their hot-headed youths what the country went through. Those who were there should tell those who were not there, the consequences of such folly.

“At all events, 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.”

The president while commending the Niger Delta leadership for restoring peace in the region, promised to address genuine grievances in that region soon.

“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.

“Government is grateful to the responsible leadership of those communities and will pursue lasting peace in the Niger Delta.”

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