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Fielding questions from the news media’s journalists, the president spoke on some key challenges Nigeria is facing and what his administration is doing to address them.
This piece highlights the important issues President Buhari addressed during the interview as monitored by Legit.ng.
On the issue of security, President Buhari said he has made progress in the northeast and the south-south. He, however, admitted that he was almost overwhelmed by the security crisis in the northwest.
Nevertheless, the Nigerian leader said he has given the military and the police the order to “be ruthless” against bandits terrorising the northwest region.
He said the bandits will be treated in the language they understand.
Contrary to nepotism allegations levelled against him, President Buhari said all appointments he makes are strictly based on merit and not based on ethnic or regional balance.
Speaking specifically about the appointment of the new Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Yahaya Farouq, President Buhari said the new Army chief was appointed because of his experience in fighting Boko Haram in the northeast.
Until his latest appointment, General Farouq was the head of the anti-Boko Haram operation in the northeast.
3. Message to governors
President Buhari also directed the state governors to go and secure their individual states. He said two governors from the southwest recently visited him and complained about the herdsmen crisis.
The president said he told the governors to go back to their states and fix the crisis.
4. Message to Nigerian youths
Making reference to the EndSARS protest in 2020 which eventually turned violent, the Nigerian leader told the youths to behave themselves and ensure the nation is secured if they want jobs in the country.
He noted that no investor can invest in an unsecured environment.
5. On IPOB
Asked what he is doing to address the crisis in the southeast, President in his response talked about the outlawed secessionist group, IPOB.
He described the Indigenous People of Biafra clamouring for secession as a dot in a circle that has nowhere to go.
The president added that IPOB members do not know what they are talking about because the people they claim to be fighting for, the Igbos, have business interests and properties across Nigeria.
He vowed to “talk to them in the language that they understand.”
6. APC politics
7. Increasing debt
Addressing the question on the borrowing spree his government has embarked upon, President Buhari said the loans are being used to develop infrastructure.
He noted that no country can develop without putting the required infrastructure in place.
The president also lamented that the crash in global oil price has adversely affected the government’s revenue.
He alleged that the previous administrations wasted resources that should have been used to develop the infrastructure.
President Buhari lamented that fighting corruption under a democratic government is difficult as prosecutions take too much time.
Nevertheless, he gave assurance that his government has zero tolerance for corruption.
Speaking on the economy, he talked about his border closure policy to stop smuggling and the incentives given to farmers to encourage them to return to the farm to boost local production.
The president noted that he was impressed with the way Nigerians keyed into the initiative.
10. Twitter suspension
While many Nigerians would want to hear directly from the president concerning the suspension of Twitter’s operation in Nigeria, the president declined to comment, saying he would keep that to himself.
11. Life after presidency
When his tenure expires in 2023, President Buhari said he will go back to his farm daily and keep himself busy.
He added that he has never abandoned the farm even as he is busy with the presidency job.
Meanwhile, President Buhari also on Thursday, June 10, paid a visit to Lagos state for the commissioning of the Lagos-Ibadan rail project at the Ebutte Meta Terminal for commencement of commercial operations.
The project is the new Mobolaji Johnson Station, acclaimed to be the largest rail station in West Africa, which has a capacity of 6,000 passengers.
The president is also expected to proceed to the Apapa port to commission the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, known as the Deep Blue Project.