• Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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Nigeria’s information minister, Lai Mohammed said on Monday that the President Buhari-led administration has delivered what he termed outstanding achievements in the last seven years in office.

But Mohammed’s assertions during a press conference in Abuja, organised to outline those achievements, came amid the over one month fuel scarcity and persisting nationwide power outage which have crippled businesses even as unemployment, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), is now over 40 percent and rising.

The minister’s press meeting was apparently in response to the recent comments of the main opposition party – the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) – accusing the ruling party of poor governance.

“I am proud of what this administration has achieved,” Mohammed told the press conference, challenging the PDP to showcase outcomes of its 16-year rule.

In his fairly long speech, Mohammed admitted that there was nothing wrong in having a fiery and viable opposition in a democracy, but that the ruling party is worried that the PDP, in desperate moves to wrestle power has tried to erase “seven years of unprecedented achievements of the Buhari administration and has also vowed to destroy the country through inciting comments and court action.”

According to him, the damage which the PDP has inflicted on the country in their 16 years of misrule has not been totally undone in just seven years.

The minister said that the APC administration has performed well in terms of infrastructure building, especially roads, rail, waterways. Other achievements he listed include airport terminals, as well as reform of the aviation industry, among others.

According to him, the Buhari administration has also introduced measures to alleviate the suffering of the most vulnerable Nigerians, including N-Power, which according to him, has benefited 1 million people; the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP), which has benefitted 4 million people; and the National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP) which he noted is providing quality meals daily to 10 million primary school pupils, empowering over 100,000 cooks and small holder farmers in the local areas where the schools are located; the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT), which provides N5,000 monthly grants to almost 2 million eligible households across the country, in addition to the 1 million urban poor who are equally benefitting from the programme due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He further admitted the country’s inability to benefit from the gains of rallying oil prices, and blamed it on the failure of the past government’s refusal to put in place the petroleum industry law.

Despite widespread security challenges in the country, the minister noted that the recent string of successes recorded in the fight against Boko Haram and ISWAP was uplifting as the terrorists and their camps are being decimated, thousands of terrorists and their families are surrendering in droves.

According to him, the effectiveness of the security forces has been enhanced by the leadership provided by President Buhari and the unwavering commitment of the armed forces and its leadership. The procurement of modern platforms for the armed forces has also gone a long way in raising the level of their operational readiness and efficiency, in addition to boosting their capabilities.

Also on the fight against insecurity, he noted the implementation of the community policing initiative of the current administration has led to the training of 25,000 constabularies in several police colleges across the country.

While food inflation has seen new highs of 17.11 percent, Mohammed said the figures being bandied around by the PDP and a section of the press, comparing the prices of some foodstuffs, petrol, diesel, pre-2015 and now is a “misuse of statistics and a clear mischief.”

Read also: Convention: Buhari ‘ll lead APC beyond 2023 – Lawan

Putting the figures in context, he said the rising food prices is a global phenomenon, citing countries like the UK and the US, which have equally shown a steep rise.

“What we are saying is that this increase is a global trend, and it’s not limited to any country. Therefore, presenting it as a Nigerian problem is mischievous, disingenuous and a clear act of misinformation.

For him, Nigerians are making great sacrifices because “they know that today’s difficulties are like the pangs heralding the birth of a new baby.”

The minister added that the crippling fuel shortage experienced across the country in recent times has started to ease, as measures put in place by the government are beginning to work.