President Muhammadu Buhari’s 2018 Democracy Day speech

Address by Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal
Republic of Nigeria In commemoration of the 2018
Democracy Day Celebration, Tuesday, 29Th May, 2018
My Dear Nigerians!
Today marks the 19thyear of our nascent democracy and
the 3rdAnniversary of this administration. I am thankful to
Almighty God for bringing us thus far. This administration
came at a time that Nigerians needed Change, the Change
we promised and the Change we continue to deliver. We
have faced a lot of challenges on this journey and Nigerians
have stood by us in achieving the three cardinal points of
this administration namely; Security, Corruption and the
Economy.
2.The commemoration of this year’s Democracy Day is a
celebration of freedom, a salute to the resilience and
determination of Nigerians and a recommitment by
Government to keep its promise to lead Nigeria into a new
era of justice and prosperity.
3.Public safety and security remains the primary duty of this
Government. Before this Administration came into being 3
years ago, Boko Haram held large areas of land spanning
several Local Governments in the North East.
4.Today, the capacity of the insurgents has been degraded
leading to the re-establishment of authority of government
and the release of captives including, happily, 106 Chibok
and 104 Dapchi girls, and over 16,000 other persons held by
the Boko Haram.
5.In order to minimize the impact of the insurgency on
Internally Displaced Persons, Government has established
secure IDP Camps and has improved the mechanism for
the distribution of basic aid, foods and essential
commodities using various strategies in collaboration with
local and international Organizations.
6.Efforts are in process for resettlement of IDPs in their
home communities by providing schools, hospitals, clinics,
water and sanitation to facilitate a quick return to economic
activities. Government is similarly implementing de-
radicalization and rehabilitation programmes to facilitate
sustainable peace and development.
7.The unfortunate incidences of kidnappings, herdsmen and
farmers clashes in several communities which have led to
high number of fatalities and loss of properties across the
country is being addressed and the identified culprits and
their sponsors shall be made to face the full wrath of the
law. All the three tiers of Government are presently engaged
with communities and religious organizations to restore
peaceful co-existence among Nigerians.
8.I want to commend members of the Multinational Joint
Task Force drawn from Niger, Benin, Chad, Cameroon and
our own country in collaboration with the International
Community who are assisting in the fight against insurgency
in the North East. I also commend the gallantry of members
of our Armed Forces and other security agencies that have
continued to provide security for lives and properties across
the country. State and Local traditional authorities are
helping with much needed intelligence in this fight against
insurgency.
9.This administration is pained over the grievous loss of
lives and properties occasioned by the carnage of
insurgency and other forms of criminality in the country. I
wish to assure Nigerians that we will not rest until all
criminal elements and their sponsors are brought to justice.
Government is boosting the capacity of our security
agencies through recruitment of more personnel, training
and procurement of modern equipment, enhancement of
intelligence gathering as well as boosting their morale in the
face of daunting challenges.
10.The Niger Delta Region has enjoyed relative peace
through social inclusiveness and cooperation of the Elders
and the good people of the region. Government is
committed to implementing the comprehensive peace,
security and development plan for the region. The
environmental clean-up of the region which commenced
with the launch in Bodo, Ogoni in June, 2016 is progressing
satisfactorily. Furthermore farming assets are being revived
and investors in cocoa and palm oil plantations are showing
serious interest.
11.The second primary object of this Administration is to
fight corruption headlong. Like I have always said, if we
don’t kill corruption, corruption will destroy the country.
Three years into this Administration, Nigerians and the
international community have begun to applaud our policies
and determination to fight corruption. We are more than
ever before determined to win this war, however hard the
road is. I therefore appeal to all well-meaning Nigerians to
continue to support us in this fight.
12.Various policy measures already put in place to stem the
tide of corrupt practices are yielding remarkable results.
Some of these key reform policies include:
a.The Treasury Single Account (TSA) has realized Billions of
Naira being saved from maintenance fee payable to banks.
N200 Billion has also been saved from elimination of ghost
workers in public service.
b.The Whistle-Blowing Policyhas helped to recover over
N500 Billion;
c.The Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit set up with
a mandate to validate controls, assess risks, prune
personnel costs, ensure compliance with Public Financial
Management reforms has helped to identify and remove
over 52,000 ghost workers from the Federal Government
MDAs Payroll;
d.The Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme
(VAIDS) aimed at expanding tax education and awareness
has offered the opportunity for tax defaulters to regularise
their status in order to enjoy the amnesty of forgiveness on
overdue interest, penalties and the assurance of non-
prosecution or subject to tax investigations.
e.The Sovereign Wealth Fund project portfolio has been
expanded with an injection of US$650 million so as to
strengthen its investment in local infrastructure, power,
health, re-construction of Abuja-Kano road, Lagos-Ibadan
Expressway, East West Road (Section V) and the Mambilla
Hydro-electric Power project as well as the construction of
the 2nd Niger Bridge.
13.The fight against corruption through the Economic and
Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt
Practices and Other Related Offences Commission has
resulted in recoveries of Billions of Naira, as well as
forfeiture of various forms of assets. This alongside other
efforts has improved Nigeria’s international image and
regional cooperation.
14.We have retained the services of one of the world’s
leading assets tracing firms to investigate and trace assets
globally. This is in addition to the exploitation of provisions
of existing Treaties, Conventions as well as Bilateral
Agreements with Multilateral bodies and Nations. Nigeria
has also signed Mutual Legal Assistance Agreements to
ensure that there is no hiding place for fugitives.
15.This Administration has therefore focused on revamping
the ailing economy it inherited in 2015. In 2016, Government
executed an expansionary budget and developed the
Strategic Implementation Plan. For the first time, 30% of the
budget was earmarked for capital expenditure which
represents an upward review when compared with the 2015
budget. The SIP was followed by the development of a
comprehensive medium term plan – the Economic Recovery
and Growth Plan 2017 – 2020.
16.The broad strategic objectives of the ERGP were to;
Restore and sustain economic growth; Build a globally
competitive economy; and Invest in our people. The
implementation of the ERGP has started yielding results.
The National Bureau of Statistics reports that the economy
grew by 1.95% in 1stquarter 2018, which is a good
performance when viewed against -0.91 in 1st quarter 2017
and -0.67% in 1st quarter 2016 respectively.
17.Our foreign reserve has improved significantly to 47.5
billion USD as of May, 2018 as against 29.6 billion USD in
2015. The inflationary rate has consistently declined every
month since January, 2017.
18.Recently, Government conducted Focus Labs in three key
sectors of the Economy namely, Agriculture & Transport,
Manufacturing and Processing as well as Power and Gas.
These have yielded significant prospects for investments
and Job creation to the tune of US$ 22.5 billion with a
potential for creating more than 500,000 jobs by 2020. These
investment generation initiatives are expected to increase
capital inflows in the form of foreign direct investment.
There is a high prospect that the cumulative investments
from this first phase of the Labs will hit US$39.2 billion by
2025.
19.Under agriculture, Nigeria continues to pursue a strategic
food security programme built around self-sufficiency and
minimization of import dependency. As a result, rice
importation from other countries has been cut down by 90%
which has a direct impact on foreign reserves.
20.The Social Investment Programmes (SIP) has been
created as a means to graduating our citizens from poverty
through capacity building, investment and direct support.
The major strategic objective is to restore livelihood,
economic opportunities and sustenance for the poor across
the country. The SIP programmes and projects include:
a.Home Grown School Feeding Programme – About 8.2
million pupils are currently being fed from 24 States of the
Federation with over 75,000 Catering Staff engaged under
the programme.
b.The Conditional Cash Transfer has so far recorded over
297,000 caregivers and being trained by 2,495 Community
Facilitators in 21 states. Less privileged Nigerians are now
being paid N5,000 monthly stipend in 9 pilot States of
Bauchi, Borno, Cross River, Ekiti, Kwara, Kogi, Niger, Osun
and Oyo. Eventually the scheme will cover all the 36 states
of the federation including the FCT.
c.Under the Government Enterprise Empowerment
Programme – About 264,269 loans had been disbursed to
4,822 societies in the 36 States and FCT, while another
370,635 are awaiting release of funds.
d.N-Power Job creation Scheme – is targeted at providing
jobs for unemployed young graduates and has so far
recruited 200,000 youths while the next batch of 300,000
have been selected, verified and would soon be deployed
across the 36 States and the FCT. Furthermore, 20,000 non-
graduate volunteers have also been selected to kick off the
N-Build programme in collaboration with the National
Automotive Design and Development Council and the
Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria.
21.In the area of power generation, Nigerians from all parts
of the country continue to report better power supply and
less use of generators. This underscores the effectiveness
of the methodical plan to deliver incremental and
uninterrupted power supply to our homes, markets, offices
and factories.
22.The country achieved 5, 222.3 MW representing the
highest peak of power generated onto the national grid and
delivered to customers in December, 2017. With new
facilities, repairs and rehabilitations by Government and
private investors, generation capability now exceeds 7,500
MW.
23.This Administration is committed to lawful interventions
to ensure the operators of the distribution business live up
to expectations especially in the areas of distribution
capacity, service delivery, collection efficiency, and
metering to eliminate contentious estimated billing.
24.The Transportation Sector continues to undergo a series
of reforms in order to sustain the international best
practices and ensure safety and security. The nation’s major
airports have witnessed reconstruction of runways,
installation of navigational equipment and new international
terminals due for commissioning in Abuja, Lagos, Kano and
Enugu. Bilateral Air Services Agreements between Nigeria
and the Governments of other countries will significantly
open up new flight routes.
25.As a result of strict regulatory and compliance policies,
Nigeria retained her Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
Category 1 status, after a routine international audit.
Recently, a new Maintenance Repair and Overhaul facility
with capacity for aircraft C-checks and other comprehensive
levels of maintenance was established in Lagos. This would
save the country an estimated $90m annually.
26.Giant strides have been recorded over the past three
years to improve road transport infrastructure in all
geopolitical zones of the country.
27.The Railway Sector has also received tremendous
attention as this Administration is committed to the goal of
linking all State capitals in the Federation by rail network to
ease the movement of goods and passengers.
28.The Education Sector especially at tertiary level has
continued to witness expansion in order to improve access
to higher education by millions of youths in Nigeria. Over the
last three years, Government has approved the
establishment of 1 new Federal Polytechnic, granted
licenses for the establishment of 4 State and 14 private-
owned Universities as well as 12 private Polytechnics.
29.Government has also continued to support the
implementation of various initiatives aimed at improving the
quality of Basic Education delivery. Thus, it has ensured
proper funding at the Basic Education level with the
disbursement of N42.2 billion UBE Matching Grant to 26
States and the FCT, N851.5 million Special Education Grant
disbursed to 23 States and private providers of Special
Education and N2.2 billion Teachers Professional
Development Fund to 33 States and the FCT.
30.The Federal Government has continued to support fiscal
sustainability at the sub-national governments through the
implementation of the Budget Support Facility which was
accompanied by the 22- point Fiscal Sustainability Plan.
Thus, bailouts funds were made available to States to ease
their fiscal challenges and other obligations including
payment of salaries.
31.In addition, a total of 73 Ecological Fund projects for the
control of gully erosion in different communities across all
geopolitical zones have been completed in the last three
years and are undergoing commissioning while 53 other
projects are ongoing. The execution of these projects has
generated 357 skilled jobs and 1,350 unskilled jobs during
this period.
32.It is pertinent to also make mention of the immeasurable
contributions of the Nigerian woman to national
development and advancement of democracy, over the last
three years. The government and people appreciate you all
as mothers of our great country.
33.My dear country men and women, as we all celebrate our
democratic experience, let us resolve to avoid hatred and
intolerance; we can only achieve our objectives in an
atmosphere of harmony and peaceful co-existence.
34.Finally, the up-coming months will usher us into another
season of general elections. Let me use this opportunity to
urge us all to conduct ourselves, our wards and our
constituencies with the utmost sense of fairness, justice
and peaceful co-existence such that we will have not only
hitch free elections but also a credible and violence free
process.
35.In few days to come, I will be joined by many promising
young Nigerians to sign into law the “Not Too Young to Run”
Bill

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