Attack On Oil Facilities: Buhari Begs N’Delta Militants For Negotiation
LAGOS DECEMBER 26TH (URHOBOTODAY)-President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday appealed to the Niger Delta militants destroying oil installations in the region to sheath their swords and come for negotiation with his administration in order to resolve “any misunderstanding.”
Buhari said this when residents of the Federal Capital Territory, including leading clerics, led by the Minister, Muhammed Bello, paid him a Christmas homage at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He said: “For our friends in the Niger Delta area, we will persuade them that they should please sit down with us and agree to manage our resources rather than think of fighting it out.”
According to the President, negotiation was the best option to decide how the nation’s resources can be managed instead of picking up arms against their fatherland.
Buhari who for the umpteenth blamed past administrations for failure to save for rainy day regretted all the problems he outlined during the campaigns that preceded the 2015 presidential election were still lingering almost 18 months after he sat on the saddle, appealing to Nigerians to be patient with his government.
The President assured that Nigerians were uppermost in his mind, hence he would continue to do all within his powers to improve their living conditions.
“I want you to talk to people to be patient with the government. We are always thinking about our country and we are thinking about our people.
“God has given Nigerians a lot of preachers and resources both human and materials, we better do the same thing for our children and grandchildren.
“I assure you that the country and the people of the country are always uppermost in our minds. Our performance in the North East, Nigerians know that this government is serious.
Buhari specifically identified power and lack of infrastructure as major challenges facing the nation in addition to other problems he identified during campaigns.
He also regretted that while proceeds from agriculture were used to develop oil, agriculture was discarded immediately oil started yielding resources for the country.
Buhari reiterated his administration’s determination to create jobs through infrastructural development.
“It is now almost 18 months since we resumed here. I believe some of you followed us during our campaigns and what we identified are still fundamental problems.
“The first is security, and we kept on saying whether it is an organisation or a country, we have to first secure it before we can manage it properly. Without security, nothing can work.
“Secondly, the economy and the unemployment of able bodied persons. We look at the left and right, from 1999 to 2014, the crude production was over 2.2m barrels per day. The average cost per barrel was $100.
“When we came, it was $37. I think it is now between $40 and $50. I asked for savings, there was no saving. I asked them what they used the money to buy, they said they bought food and oil. I do not know how long it took me to recover from the shock.
“Some of you will recall either by history or discussion that it was cocoa, parm kernel, cotton, agro allied industry that we used to build infrastructures be it rail or school.
“We also used the proceeds to develop oil. When we got the oil, we threw everything away. We thank God this year, the harvest was quite good, otherwise, I do not know what we would have done.
“There was no money saved, no infrastructure built, and power is still our main problem. Old roads have dilapidated and they needed to be repaired from Lagos to Kano, Port Harcourt up to Maiduguri. There are rail lines we want to develop from Lagos to Calabar, from Lagos to Kaduna and the Abuja one.
“If we can get the infrastructure done, we cannot even know the number of Nigerians that will get job. So we have to get infrastructure. It will take tankers and other articulated vehicles off the road, we will save vehicles and we will save lives and we will get jobs for a lot of Nigerians.”
Earlier, Bello in his opening remarks commended Buhari for the success recorded by the nation’s troops that cleared Sambisa Forest of insurgents last week.
“We are very proud of this milestone and we prayed that Boko Haram never rear its head in any part of the country again,” the minister said.
Also, the Chairman of the Christians Association of Nigeria, FCT branch, Rev. Jonah Samson, said they were in the Presidential Villa to identify with Buhari and commend him for his leadership which he said had impacted positively on Nigerians.
Samson particularly commended the President for his administration’s anti-corruption war.
He expressed the hope that the anti-graft war would not end with this administration.
He said, “Corruption is a cankerworm. It is a terrible thing that we must kill. We urge you to ensure that the war continues. It should not end during this administration.
“We thank God for the victory over Boko Haram. It is a thing of joy worthy of celebration.”
The minister and his aides later presented a giant greeting card to Buhari for the Christmas.
Representatives of the Aso Villa Chapel also presented a card and locally-made artworks to the President.
Speaking with State House correspondents at the end of the visit, a senator representing FCT, Philip Aduda, urged Nigerians to support the present administration.
He expressed the hope that 2017 would be better for the nation.
The delegation that visited the President included Christian and Muslim leaders, National Assembly members, traditional rulers, top government officials and security chiefs among others.