Nigeria Exploring Depths, Moving Forward Against all Odds

Nigeria just like every Nation and individuals has been bedeviled with a lot of challenges in recent years. Most notably since 2015, Nigeria has been struggling with economic recession and attacks from Boko Haram insurgency. This has led to depression resulting to harsh living conditions amongst majority of the citizens.

Nevertheless, the country has grown more than any period in the history of the nation. Attention has been taken away from overdependence on government to solve all the problems of everyone. There’s also no more overdependence on oil revenues. There’s a shift to Agriculture and continuous projects and initiatives ongoing to move further.

As the nation is working tirelessly to step out of recession, individuals are looking within themselves to find ways to improve, resulting in the development of the individuals from within to without and the overall development of the nation at large.

Recession therefore seems to have done more good than harm because of the incredible insights and growth the Nation has gained through what were most definitely her darkest days.

The development of the people from within and emphasis on improving and how each person can help is worth more than anything.

Worthy of note is the fact that the Nation did not relent in exploring her darkest depths and how to truly be of service in the world. The old foundations crumbled and the country is beginning to build again on new and solid ground.

In President Muhammadu Buhari’s independence speech on Sunday, while acknowledging the country has gone through trials and tribulations over the years, he mentions some major strides taken so far and outlines key results achieved.

In his words, “…The Government has remained pro-active in its diversification policy. The Federal Government’s agricultural Anchor Borrowers Programme, which I launched in November 2015, has been an outstanding success with:

  • N43.92 billion released through the CBN and 13 participating institutions,
  • 200,000 small holder farmers from 29 states of the federation benefitting,
  • 233,000 hectares of farmland cultivating eight commodities, namely Rice, Wheat, Maize, Cotton, soya-beans, Poultry, Cassava and Groundnuts, in addition to fish farming.
  • “These initiatives have been undertaken in close collaboration with the states. I wish to commend the efforts of the Governors of Kebbi, Lagos, Ebonyi and Jigawa States for their support to the rice and fertilizer revolutions.

Equally commendable are contributions of the Governors of Ondo, Edo, Delta, Imo, Cross River, Benue, Ogun, Kaduna and Plateau States for their support for the Presidential initiative for palm oil, rubber, cashew, cassava, potatoes and other crops.”

“With the abundance of rainfall last year and this year, agriculture has enjoyed Divine intervention.

Since December last year, this Administration has produced over 7 million 50Kg bags of fertilizer. Eleven blending plants with a capacity of 2.1 million metric tons have been reactivated. We have saved $150 million in foreign exchange and N60 billion in subsidy. Fertilizer prices have dropped from N13,000 per 50Kg bag to N5,500.

Furthermore, a new presidential initiative is starting with each state of the Federation creating a minimum of 10,000 jobs for unemployed youths, again with the aid of CBN’s development finance initiatives.”

“ As of September 12th, production of power reached an all — time high of 7,001 Megawatts. Government is increasing its investment, clearing up the operational and financial log jam bedeviling the industry. We hope to reach 10,000 Megawatts by 2020.”

“Key priorities include better energy mix through solar and Hydro technologies. I am glad to say that after many years of limbo, Mambilla Power Project has taken off.”

Elsewhere in the economy the special window created for manufacturers, investors and exporters, foreign exchange requirements has proved very effective. Since April, about $7 billion has come through this window alone. The main effect of these policies is improved confidence in the economy and better investment sentiments.”

“The country has recorded 7 consecutive months of lower inflation, Naira rate is beginning to stabilize, appreciating from N525 per $1 in February this year to N360 today. Broad-based economic growth is leading us out of recession.”

“Furthermore, in order to stabilize the polity, the Federal Government gave additional support to states in the form of:

  • State Excess Crude Account loans,
  • Budget Support Facility,
  • Stabilization Fund Release

to states and local governments as follows:

  • N200 billion in 2015
  • N441 billion in 2016
  • N1 trillion in 2017

Altogether totaling N1.642 trillion.”

This according to him was “done to enable states to pay outstanding salaries, pensions and small business suppliers who had been all but crippled over the years.”

In addition, “the Government’s current N500 billion Special Intervention Programme is targeting groups through;

  • Home Grown School Feeding Programme,
  • N-Power Job creation to provide loans to small-scale traders and artisans,
  • Conditional Cash Transfer,
  • Family Homes Fund and
  • Social Housing Scheme,” he said.

On security, the President stated that “Nigerians must be grateful to our gallant Armed Forces for rolling back the frontiers of Boko Haram’s terrorism, defeating them and reducing them to cowardly attacks on soft and vulnerable targets.”

He thanked neighbours and the international community for the collective efforts to defeat this world-wide menace of terrorism.

“Not even the most organized and most equipped police and security forces in the world can escape the menace of modern day terrorism, as we have seen in recent years in Europe and other parts of the world”.

“But we are not letting up. Our Armed Forces in an effort to enhance the operational capability of troops of OPERATION LAFIYA DOLE have established Mobile Strike Teams in the North East. These will ensure the final push to wipe out the remnants of Boko Haram”.

“In addition, through targeted air strikes most of the leadership and identified logistics bases and routes of the insurgents have been neutralized. The Armed Forces have established a Naval presence in the Lake Chad Basin as part of the coordinated military efforts to curtail the movements or re-emergence of the sect in the area.

Government is working round the clock to ensure release of the remaining Chibok girls, as well as other persons in Boko Haram captivity. Government will continue to support the Armed Forces and other security agencies to fight not only terrorism, but kidnapping, armed robberies, herdsmen/farmers violence and to ensure peace, stability and security in our country,” he noted.

“On corruption, the Government has:

  • Empowered teams of prosecutors,
  • Assembled detailed databases,
  • Accelerated the recovery of stolen funds.

The Administration’s new institutional reforms include:

  • Enforcing Treasury Single Account,
  • Whistle-Blowers Policy,
  • Integrated Payroll Personnel and Information System.

“We have signed multi-lateral cooperation agreements on criminal matters with friendly countries. There are signs of increasing cooperation from the Judiciary. Recently the Chief Justice of Nigeria directed Heads of all our Courts of first instance and Appeal to accelerate hearings of corruption cases and dismiss any judicial officers found to have been compromised”

Justice Salami has just been appointed to chair the Judiciary’s anti-graft committee. Government expects a lot from this Committee,” he reiterated.

The Nation did not stop. They are working tirelessly to improve and we believe that it will get better. This is worth celebrating.

SR

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