‘Merciless’ Nigerians Undermining My Govt’s Policies, Says Buhari

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President Muhammadu Buhari has lamented what he described as the ‘mercilessness of some Nigerians’ to the course and development of the country, pleading with citizens to be considerate towards the country.

President Buhari spoke on Friday after receiving briefings from the Prof. Doyin Salami-led Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC) at its 6th regular meeting held in the State House, Abuja.

He decried the situation in which some unscrupulous people tried to undermine every policy of government, irrespective of the good it was meant to achieve for the country.

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According to a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, President Buhari recalled that despite efforts to regulate importation and proliferation of some commodities in the country by shutting land borders for more than a year, some Nigerians still found ways to circumvent the barriers to perpetuate smuggling of illicit commodities.

“Some people are mercilessly against this country,” the President said. “We closed the borders to control the smuggling of petroleum products and check the influx of smuggled goods, arms and ammunition. That was when the Comptroller General of Customs called me, saying 40 tankers laden with petrol had been impounded. I told him to sell the fuel, sell the trucks, and put the money in the treasury.

“They still brought arms and ammunition into the country, brought in rice in vehicles and motorcycles. I said shoot anyone found illegally with AK-47, yet they haven’t stopped. People must show consideration for their own country,” he said.

The President also pledged that the federal government would focus on greater development of irrigation facilities in the country and encourage more people into agriculture.

President Buhari said agriculture was a good way for the country to overcome the economic challenges confronting it, stressing: “We need to go back to the land. Technology is doing away with petroleum, but we are lucky we have other resources: gas, vast arable land which we are not using enough.”

The President was responding to disclosure by Prof Salami, in his presentation, that only 2% of land under cultivation is irrigated, recommending that apart from government efforts, incentives are needed for private people to enter the sector.

On the security challenges, which PEAC said was having great repercussions on the economy, President Buhari charged leadership at every level to go back to the basics, noting that a bottom-up approach was necessary, from ward to local council, states, and federal.

PEAC submitted that the global economy has continued to improve as COVID-19 infections drop and roll-out of vaccination intensifies, adding that the Nigerian economy, though out of recession, remains fragile with inflation rising, unemployment high, and external account weak.

Policy, the economic advisory body said, “must urgently address the challenges of rising prices.”

Among other issues recommended by PEAC are decisive end to all forms of insecurity in the country, mobilization of resources for investment, hastened implementation of agricultural reform policies, passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) as a basis for revitalising the industry, poverty reduction, employment generation and incentives for private investment in irrigation to promote all-year-round farming.

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