Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari says his administration would be decisive in dealing with terrorist hoodlums causing unrest in the country, in an interview on Thursday with Arise TV, his first since he was re-elected in 2019.
President Buhari spoke on a wide range of issues bordering on infrastructural development, appointments, insecurity, farmers/herders clashes, etc.
Here are five takeaways from the interview
The President said his administration had decided to tackle the worsening security situation in Nigeria headlong, adding that after changing the head of security agencies he had given them a directive, especially to the police, to be ruthless with anyone or group causing unrest in any part of the country.
The President said the security situation, especially in the North, had become a serious concern as the people of the region were suffering a lot of casualties, stressing that though there had been significant progress in the Zamfara State, where foreigners carrying out illegal mining activities had been expelled.
He dismissed the secessionist agitations of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and other groups, saying that security forces had been instructed to use force against them.
Building infrastructure to Niger Republic
President Buhari justified the continued building of roads, railways and other infrastructure projects to connect the country to Niger Republic, noting that Niger Republic and other neighbouring countries were crucial to the country’s fight against terrorism and insurgency.
The President said there was the need for an access road between Nigeria and Niger, especially now that country had discovered crude oil, stressing that the move had also become necessary so that the country could serve as a transit route for the products rather than Niger using other neighbouring countries’ routes.
Ban on open grazing/efforts to end farmers/herders clashes
According to the President, record shows that Nigeria had grazing routes for herders in the First Republic, which were equipped with infrastructure, while herders with animals that grazed on people’s farms were fined or their animals confiscated.
He said the solution to the constant farmers and herders clashes in the country was the resuscitating of the cattle grazing routes across Nigeria, which would further make herders better managed, accountable and taxable.
He lamented that the country had been invaded by foreign herdsmen from the West African region, adding that his administration was on top of the situation.
On complaints of lopsided appointments
The President defended his appointments, saying that all the appointments he made were strictly based on merit and not based on ethnic or regional balance.
He cited the case of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NPPC), noting that most top position holders rose through the ranks, had put in years of service to earn their positions.
He said there were several Igbos in Nigeria’s civil service, adding that the Igbos must compete with qualified Nigerians from other regions for positions, as it was impossible to bypass qualified individuals to favour them.
On Nigeria losing foreign investments
Buhari said the spate of insecurity had adversely affected the flow of foreign direct investments to Nigeria in recent time, saying it had become increasingly difficult to attract investors to Nigeria with the spate of insecurity plaguing the country.
The President advised the youths to shun violence and maintain peace, stressing that the recent EndSARS protests across the country had further complicated the security situation and affected investors’ confidence in Nigeria.