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President Buhari’s Independence Day Address @61


INDEPENDENCE DAY ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, MUHAMMADU BUHARI, PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA ON THE OCCASION OF NIGERIA’S SIXTY FIRST INDEPENDENCE ANNIVERSARY, FRIDAY 1ST OCTOBER, 2021.

Citizens of Nigeria.

It is with full gratitude to God that today, we celebrate Nigeria’s sixty first Independence Anniversary.

  1. For 1st of October 1960 to happen, all hands were on deck. East, West, North all came together to celebrate freedom. Today should not only serve as a reminder of the day the British handed over the reins of power to Nigerians, but also unified Nigerians from all ethnic groups, religions and regions.

  2. Today, despite the challenges we face, most Nigerians still maintain the spirit of 1st October. That positive outlook and determination to make Nigeria a peaceful and prosperous nation. It is due to this collective attitude that Nigeria doggedly continues to remain a united and indivisible nation.

  3. Fellow Nigerians, the past eighteen months have been some of the most difficult periods in the history of Nigeria. Since the civil war, I doubt whether we have seen a period of more heightened challenges than what we have witnessed in this period.

  4. Our original priorities for 2020 were to continue stabilising our economy following the deep recession while restoring peace in areas confronted with security challenges. But the COVID-19 pandemic and its devastating impact on all nations meant we needed to shift gears and re-strategise.

  5. Nigerians came together as one to fight against COVID-19. It is this attitude and by the special grace of God, we continue to survive the pandemic as a nation and indeed, provide leadership and example at regional and international levels.

  6. The doomsday scenario predicted for our country never came. Even as the Delta variant continues to spread, we have built the capacity we need to respond now and into the future.

  7. I will therefore appeal to Nigerians not to take COVID lightly, adhere to public health and social measures, put your mask on and get vaccinated. We can control this pandemic, but it requires effort on everybody’s part. The investments we made in response to COVID-19 will also serve our country to tackle any future disease outbreaks or pandemics.

  8. Despite the global inequity in access to vaccines, the Government of Nigeria has continued to explore all available options to ensure Nigerians have free access to safe and effective vaccines.

  9. Some five million vaccine doses have been administered to Nigerians through efforts led by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency and we will continue to explore options for purchase or acquisition of vaccines such as through COVAX and the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust.

  10. I will take this opportunity to remind the global community that the current state of access to COVID-19 vaccines is unacceptable. We cannot afford a situation where a handful of countries keep the global vaccine supply to themselves at the expense of other nations.

  11. We must act now to accelerate equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. This is the message I conveyed to the international community in New York last week.

  12. As we push to source vaccines for our immediate needs, we shall invest more to support our pharmaceutical and research agencies to come up with ideas for locally developed vaccines. Should another pandemic arise in the future, Our question is simple; will Nigeria be ready?

  13. Accordingly, I have directed the Ministries of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Health, Education and Science and Technology to work with Nigerian and International pharmaceutical companies and research organisations to enhance Nigeria’s domestic pharmaceutical capacity.

  14. Already, the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority is raising a $200 million fund for this initiative that will complement the Central Bank of Nigeria’s ongoing N85 billion Healthcare Sector Research and Development Intervention Scheme to support local researchers in the development of vaccines and drugs to combat communicable and non-communicable diseases, including COVID-19.

Fellow Nigerians, this is just the beginning.

  1. Similarly, on our approach to food security, I am proud to announce Nigeria has commenced its journey to pharmaceutical independence.

  2. This journey, which will take years to achieve but will ultimately result in Nigerian based companies developing the Active Pharmaceutical substances and competence needed for us to make our own drugs and vaccines.

Fellow Nigerians,

  1. As our economy continues to open after the COVID-19 related lockdowns, we have also seen the resurgence of insecurity in certain parts of the country.

  2. In the last four months, the gallant men and women of the Military and Security Agencies have made tremendous progress in addressing these new security challenges. We are taking the fight to our enemies from all angles and we are winning.

  3. Earlier this year, I launched the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, the Deep Blue Project, which is designed to secure Nigerian waters up to the Gulf of Guinea. I am happy to inform Nigerians that we have taken delivery of key assets for this project and very soon, its impact will be felt.

  4. In the North East region alone, over eight thousand Boko Haram terrorists have surrendered.

  5. To support our surge approach to fighting banditry, the Nigerian Armed Forces have recruited over 17,000 personnel across all ranks. Furthermore, I have also approved for the Nigerian Police Force to recruit 10,000 police officers annually over the next six years.

  6. I am also pleased to note that most of the Air Force platforms we acquired over the past three years have started to arrive in Nigeria. These will positively impact our security operations in all parts of the country.

  7. In line with section 14(2)(b) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the security and welfare of Nigerians continue to be the prime focus on which programmes and projects of our government revolves.

  8. Therefore, as a Government, we are ready to arrest and prosecute all persons inciting violence through words or action. Our resolve for a peaceful, united and one Nigeria remains resolute and unwavering.

  9. That said, our hope is not to fight for peace. We can always settle our grievances peacefully without spilling any blood.

  10. I will therefore take this opportunity, on this special day that symbolises the unity and oneness of our great nation, to ask all Nigerians to embrace peace and dialogue, whatever your grievances.

  11. The seeds of violence are planted in people’s heads through words. Reckless utterances of a few have led to losses of many innocent lives and destruction of properties.

  12. Such unfiltered and unsubstantiated lies and hate speeches by a few evil persons must be stopped. Our media houses and commentators must move away from just reporting irresponsible remarks to investigating the truth behind all statements and presenting the facts to readers.

  13. We must all come out and speak against the lies being peddled. At this point, I would want to sincerely appreciate the large number of our Traditional, Religious and Community leaders as well as other well-meaning Nigerians who, in their various fora are openly spreading the message of peaceful co-existence and conflict settlement through dialogue in their respective communities.

  14. Nigeria is for all of us. Its unity is not negotiable. And its ultimate success can only be achieved if we all come together with a common goal of having peace and prosperity for our nation.

  15. We shall continue to work on dialogue based solutions to address legitimate grievances. But we remain ready to take decisive actions against secessionist agitators and their sponsors who threaten our national security.

  16. The recent arrests of Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Adeyemo, and the ongoing investigations being conducted have revealed certain high-profile financiers behind these individuals. We are vigorously pursuing these financiers including one identified as a serving member of the national assembly.

Fellow Nigerians,

  1. This is a clear example of how people abandon their national leadership positions for their selfish gains. Instead of preaching unity, they are funding and misleading our youth to conduct criminal acts that sometimes lead to unfortunate and unnecessary loss of lives and property.

  2. As the so-called leaders run abroad to hide, our innocent youths are misled and left in the streets to fight for their senseless and destructive causes.

  3. Government will continue, with greater level of peoples’ participation and in collaboration with our international partners, to improve the security architecture, reduce enabling environment for criminality to thrive and eliminate opportunities for terrorism financing.

  4. Fellow Nigerians, our unrelenting effort at resolving an almost two-decade stalling on the management of our Petroleum resources and ensuring equitable consideration to our host communities has resulted in the enactment of the Petroleum Industry Act, 2021.

  5. This Act not only overhauls the Institutional, regulatory and fiscal framework of the Petroleum Industry but also reduces the previous opacity associated with this sector.

  6. This is the first step to the reforms as the process is a continuous one. Already, to further improve the governance framework, I have sought for an amendment of sections 11(2)(b) and 34(2)(b). We will also continue to review and amend as appropriate.

  7. At this juncture, it is very appropriate that I salute the leadership and members of the Ninth Assembly for their patriotism, dedication to duty, candour and most importantly the dispatch with which they have enacted legacy legislations for this nation. I do not take such level of cooperation for granted and hope it continues for the overall efficiency of the Federal machinery.

  8. Nigeria’s Roadmap on Local Refining is on track with the Commissioning of a Modular refinery in Imo State.

  9. A second is scheduled for commissioning by the end of this year in Edo State and the third one in Bayelsa State by 2022.

  10. In addition to the modular projects, we also have the two mega refinery projects coming up in Lagos and Akwa Ibom States.

  11. As these refineries are commissioned, more employment opportunities are created and there would be increased petroleum products available for local consumption which will significantly reduce our reliance on importation.

  12. In further demonstrating our plan to reduce our dependence on oil and tapping from our enormous gas resources, this administration remains committed to the “Decade of Gas” Initiative, which is aimed at bringing to focus the utilization of our huge gas resources.

  13. Already, we are supporting and promoting various gas-based projects including NLNG Train 7 and the mega urea and ammonia projects in the South-South region.

  14. As we continue to optimise and enhance our oil and gas sector, I am also proud and delighted to state that our economic diversification strategy remains on course with the persistent increase in Non-Oil Sector contribution to GDP.

  15. We recovered from economic recession in quarter four of 2020 with a GDP growth rate of 0.11%, and grew by 0.51% and 5.01% in real terms in the first and second quarters of 2021.

  16. The Agricultural sector remains key to our economic diversification efforts as the sector has been a consistent driver of the non-oil sector contributing 22.35% and 23.78% to the overall GDP in the first and second quarter of 2021.

  17. We have seen significant private sector investments in almost all areas of the agricultural value chain. And these have continued even during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  18. Unfortunately, as our food production capacity has increased, food prices have been going up due to artificial shortages created by middlemen who have been buying and hoarding these essential commodities for profiteering.

  19. To address this, I am hereby directing the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to rehabilitate the National Food Reserve Agency and also work with security agencies, the Nigerian Commodity Exchange, and the National Assembly to find a lasting solution to these disruptive and unpatriotic hoarding activities.

  20. To further enhance food production, we have completed several new dams and are in the process of rehabilitating several River Basin Development Authorities to enhance ground water supply for rainfed agriculture as well as surface water for irrigation agriculture.

  21. The water projects we completed between 2015 to 2020 have improved Nigerian’s access to potable water to 71% between 2015 and 2020. This means 12.5 million additional Nigerians now have direct access to potable water.

Fellow Nigerians,

  1. This Government remains concerned by the significant transportation infrastructure deficit we have. Addressing the challenges our commuters and lorry drivers face on the motorways is still a high priority to us.

  2. To complement our budgetary allocations, the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund and the Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Scheme, we recently established a N15trillion Infrastructural Corporation of Nigeria Limited (INFRACO), which is expected to begin operation by the fourth quarter of this year.

  3. INFRACO will also focus on leveraging resources on a public-private sector basis for infrastructural development in Nigeria.

  4. We hope through these innovative programs, the additional cost burden on individuals and businesses because of inefficient logistics operations will be reduced and ultimately, eliminated.

  5. We currently have over 13,000 kilometres of roads and bridges under construction all over the country of which a fair percentage have been completed.

  6. As we fix our roads, we also continue to extend and upgrade Nigeria’s railway network with the notable opening of the Warri- Itakpe standard gauge rail line.

  7. To increase capacity, we have introduced more locomotives, coaches and wagons including the establishment of a Wagon Assembly in Kajola, Ogun State.

  8. The sea ports however still remain problematic. The effect of our various interventions to reduce the gridlocks and inefficiencies have been slower than expected.

  9. However, the implementation of the Electronic Call-Up System as well as the conversion of the Lillypond Container Terminal to a Vehicle Transit Area will further enhance the ease of cargo evacuation.

  10. Our prioritisation of developing Nigeria’s Digital Economy has positively impacted the contribution of the ICT sector to our GDP.

  11. We hope our present efforts to ensure all Nigerians use a National Identification Number as well as our planned roll-out of the fifth generation (5G) network technology will ensure we stay in line with the global innovation curve as a Nation.

  12. As we embrace the digital economy in Nigeria, we are fully aware of the prospects and the perils. Our policies have been developed to enable Nigerians to take advantage of the prospects and avoid the perils of digital technologies.

  13. Social media is a very useful platform that has enabled millions of Nigerians to connect with loved ones, promote their businesses, socialise, and access news and other information.

  14. However, recent events have shown that the platform is not just an innocuous platform for information dissemination.

  15. Rather some users have misused the platform to organise, coordinate, and execute criminal activities, propagate fake news, and promote ethnic and religious sentiments.

  16. To address these negative trends, the Federal Government of Nigeria suspended the operations of Twitter in Nigeria on June 5, 2021 to allow the Government put measures in place to address these challenges.

  17. Following the suspension of Twitter operations, Twitter Inc. reached out to the Federal Government of Nigeria to resolve the impasse. Subsequently, I constituted a Presidential Committee to engage Twitter to explore the possibility of resolving the issue.

  18. The Committee, along with its Technical Team, has engaged with Twitter and have addressed a number of key issues. These are:

a. National Security and Cohesion;

b. Registration, Physical presence and Representation;

c. Fair Taxation;

d. Dispute Resolution; and

e. Local Content.

  1. Following the extensive engagements, the issues are being addressed and I have directed that the suspension be lifted but only if the conditions are met to allow our citizens continue the use of the platform for business and positive engagements.

  2. As a country, we are committed to ensuring that digital companies use their platform to enhance the lives of our citizens, respect Nigeria’s sovereignty, cultural values and promote online safety.

  3. Nigeria’s progressive diplomacy continues to manifest through growing numbers of highly placed Nigerians in positions of regional and global influences. Very recently, Nigeria won election for the position of Commissioner for the expanded Political, Peace and Security Affairs of the African Union.

  4. Our persistent calls for a reorganized and reformed ECOWAS, to make the organization citizens-sensitive, paid off with the acceptance by the Authority of Heads of State and Governments of ECOWAS to commence the agreed reforms in the organization ahead of the next elections of the organization’s principal officers in December this year.

  5. At the African Development Bank, World Trade Organization and indeed, the United Nations, footprints of Nigeria’s Diplomacy are clearly evident.

  6. We remain confident that our goal of lifting 100million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years is achievable.

  7. Considering the positive impact of our Social Investment Programs, I recently approved an increase in the number of N-Power program beneficiaries from 500,000 to 1,000,000.

  8. Out of this, 510,000 have started the programme while the competitive selection process for onboarding the outstanding 490,000 beneficiaries is in progress.

  9. The National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme is currently being implemented in 35 States of the Federation and the FCT. Over 103,000 women have been engaged and empowered as cooks under the programme, while about 10 million pupils are being fed across public primary schools in the country.

  10. To grant increased access to credit to the most poor and vulnerable, I have directed an increase in the disbursement of Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme loans to an additional one million beneficiaries laying more emphasis on the smallholding farmers through the farmers Moni program.

Fellow Nigerians,

  1. For far too long we have neglected the centrality of the civil service as the engine of governance and this has manifested in ineffective service delivery.

  2. There is widespread discontent and disillusion about the efficiency and probity of our civil service.

  3. It is for this reason that we are refocusing the Nigerian Civil Service to provide World class service to run our country.

  4. The youths of this great country remain propellants for our today and provide guarantees that we would have a secure tomorrow.

  5. It is for this reason that I remain focused on expanding opportunities for their participation in politics and governance.

  6. Recent appointments of young people into positions of authority and their track record so far, gives me confidence that we need to bring more of them into governance and this I promise to do.

  7. More specifically, to encourage Girl-Child Education, female scholarship schemes, life skills and digital literacy skills to boost girl’s enrolment, retention and completion of schooling, are all initiatives put in place to ensure gender balance in appropriately positioning our youths for positions of leadership.

  8. The commitment of this Administration to the well-being of people living with disabilities remains unwavering.

  9. Government recognises their contributions to development and I have, in this regard, directed that all relevant Government Agencies pay special attention to the peculiarities of different abilities in the implementation of policies and programmes.

  10. Rape and Gender Based Violence remains a sore point in our Nation as in many countries worldwide and this was worsened during and after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  11. We are currently engaging Heads of Courts to establish Specialised Courts for the speedy and seamless trial of Rape/Gender-Based offences especially to ensure that justice is done for child victims of sexual violence.

  12. On the other hand, work has advanced in the reformation, reintegration and reunification of Minors involved in one crime or the other.

  13. The reformation in our Correctional Services has manifested in an increase in modernised custodial centres and a transformation from strictly punitive to attitudinal changes so that criminals do not relapse into their previous lifestyle.

  14. As we begin to celebrate our sixty one years as a Nation, we need to be conscious that Nigeria does not start and end with the Federal Government. This country is a great collective where Government at all arms and levels as well as the private sector, and more importantly individuals, have a role to play.

  15. In particular, security is a bottom to top undertaking. Joining hands and hearts together would enable us to secure ourselves and our country.

  16. I fully understand the anxiety of many Nigerians on the inability of this country to go beyond a never-ending potential for becoming a great nation to an actually great one.

  17. A lot has been achieved in the last six years on many fronts: in infrastructure, social care, governance, Nigeria’s image and influence in Africa and the international community.

  18. But critics misdiagnose incremental progress as stagnation. Since coming to power, this Administration has tackled our problems head-on in spite of the meagre resources. No government since 1999 has done what we have done in six years to put Nigeria back on track.

  19. We shall continue to serve the country: listen to all and protect our democracy and country.

Thank you all and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Categories
News

Nigeria@61: Ex-President Jonathan urges optimism


Former president Goodluck Jonathan has called on Nigerians to be optimistic about the future of the country, in spite of the challenges currently being faced.

Jonathan made the appeal in his goodwill message issued on Thursday in Abuja to Nigerians on the occasion of the nation’s 61st Independence anniversary.

He said that the nation held abundant promises for the citizens, adding that Nigeria has what it takes to overcome today’s threats and trials.

The former president encouraged the leaders and the citizens to rededicate themselves to the virtues of equity, justice, tolerance and strive to give their best for the good of the nation.

He described independence day as a day of freedom which provides an opportunity to reflect on the country’s progress, celebrate its humble attainments and ponder over those dreams yet to be fulfilled.

“I join all citizens to celebrate the 61st Independence Anniversary of our great nation, Nigeria.

“As we mark this day of freedom, it gives us the opportunity to reflect on our progress, celebrate our humble attainments and ponder over those dreams that are yet to be fulfilled.

“We may have hiccups along the way and challenging times that might be stretching our resolve and determination to forge ahead. But we should not relent nor succumb to fear, discouraging trials and threats of today.

“We will never lose hope in our country and in our indomitable spirit and capacity to overcome difficult times, seize the moment and conquer,” Jonathan said.

According to him, the journey of nationhood is a marathon, which requires patience, resilience, tolerance and determination.

Jonathan said that the uncertainties of this time could bot be compared to the limitless promises in the country.

“This time offers us a new opportunity to renew our drive towards attaining greater heights and secure our shared dreams and common vision.

“As we celebrate, let us aggregate the successes, challenges and lessons of the last six decades and apply them towards a more prosperous future for us and upcoming generations.

“Ours is a country blessed with numerous opportunities and prospects as well as great citizens, engaging diversity and versatility,” he said.

Jonathan also urged all Nigerians to recharge their patriotism and rededicate themselves to the virtues of equity, justice and tolerance and strive to give their best for the good of the nation.

“Let us remain optimistic, for the challenges of this time will rebound to a glorious fortune for us and generations yet to come,” he said.

Categories
News

Nigeria will remain a united, stronger nation as it marks 61st anniversary – CAN


President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), His Eminence, Rev. Samson Ayokunle, says in spite of its challenges, Nigeria will remain indivisible and wax stronger.

In a message of hope issued on Thursday to Christians and Nigerians preparatory to the country’s 61st anniversary, Ayokunle also declared that “Nigeria shall experience Showers of Blessings.’’

He said his prophesy was backed by the Book of Ezekiel 34:25-30, where Ezekiel prophesied to a people in captivity of the Babylonians that there shall be showers of blessings.

Book of Ezekiel 34:25-30 states: “I will make a covenant of peace with them and rid the land of savage beasts so that they may live in the wilderness and sleep in the forests in safety.

“I will make them and the places surrounding my hill a blessing. I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing.

“The trees will yield their fruit and the ground will yield its crops; the people will be secure in their land. They will know that I am the Lord, when I break the bars of their yoke and rescue them from the hands of those who enslaved them.

“They will no longer be plundered by the nations, nor will wild animals devour them. They will live in safety, and no one will make them afraid.

“I will provide for them a land renowned for its crops, and they will no longer be victims of famine in the land or bear the scorn of the nations.

“Then they will know that I, the Lord, their God, am with them and that they, the Israelites, are my people, declares the Sovereign Lord.’’

His Eminence said: “On behalf of myself and the Christian Association of Nigeria, I congratulate all Nigerians on this occasion of the 61st Independence Anniversary of Nigeria from colonial rule of the British.

“With full assurance of faith in the Lord and the power of the Holy Spirit, at this difficult time, I prophesy that there shall be showers of blessings in the name of Jesus,’’ he said.

Ayokunle said the situation, humanly speaking, appeared bleak, but knowing that God is not man and with Him, all things are possible, this is the right time to believe that there shall be showers of blessings because some people are praying for this country.

“There shall be showers of blessings because God shall judge the evil doers in the nation.

“There shall be showers of blessings because God rules in the affairs of humans. There shall be showers of blessings because the thoughts of God towards us are good and not evil.’’

Ayokunle, also Co-Chairman, Nigeria Inter-Religious Council, said the showers of blessings shall usher in peace to Nigeria and all agitations would cease.

The CAN president said the Lord would cause wild beasts and criminals operating with various names such as Boko Haram, bandits, kidnappers, murderous herdsmen, unknown gunmen to cease from Nigeria.

“Violence shall become a thing of the past in Nigeria and all Nigerians shall dwell in safety in the name of Jesus.

“Our economy shall flourish and there shall be prosperity in the nation and Nigerians who had run abroad will return home because Nigeria will be a desired nation by everybody in the name of Jesus,’’ he stressed.

He added that God shall turn Nigeria’s dry land into swamps of food where Nigerians would have plenty to eat and the days of scarcity would be no more in the name of Jesus.

He prayed that at the forthcoming 2023 general elections, no wicked leader shall be voted into power no matter how wealthy and powerful he or she might be in the name of Jesus Christ.

The CAN president commended the military for the current upper hand they were having over insurgents and criminals tagged bandits and wicked herdsmen murdering and sacking communities

“We encourage law enforcement agents not to give these criminals any breathing space until the battle is won and Nigeria is safe again as before,’’ he stressed.

Categories
News

Independence: Nigerian Govt declares Friday public holiday


The federal government has declared Friday, October 1, a public holiday to mark the nation’s 61st independence anniversary celebration.

The permanent secretary of Nigeria’s interior ministry, Shuaib Belgore, disclosed this in a statement on Wednesday.

The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, congratulated all Nigerians on this year’s celebration of Nigeria’s 61st Independence and assured of the government’s commitment to tackling and eradicating all forms of challenges – be it political socio-economic and all diverse problems.

Nigeria gained independence from Britain on October 1, 1960.

“Aregbeola said that our warmth, welcoming spirit and love as well as the abundant wealth inherent in our human capital and the richness of our land, makes Nigeria unarguably the leading black nation in the world and Africa’s pride and beacon of hope, if we can rally ourselves together to harness our potentials,” the statement said, quoting the minister.

“A country of about 200 million and above people whose natural talent, grit and passion glitter like the precious DIAMOND that we are. Nigerians are sparkling like diamonds in the pack, whether in Academia, Business, Innovation, Music, Movie, Entertainment, Fashion and culture. We are indeed the leading black nation in the entire world and no doubt Africa’s pride and beacon of hope.”

While wishing Nigerians a fruitful independence celebration, he reminded them of the fact that the nation’s founding fathers, in spite of the differences in faith, tribe and tongue, came together for Nigeria’s independence.

He therefore, called on all Nigerians to join hands together with the present administration in its quest to ensure a better Nigeria for all citizens, both at home and abroad.

Categories
Metro

Nigeria@60: Gambari participates in virtual New York parade, carnival

Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, was among participants in this year’s New York City Nigeria Independence Day Parade and Carnival, which ended on Saturday evening.

The three-day event, held virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic, featured music performances, cultural exhibitions, quiz, goodwill messages from personalities, among others.

Founded in 1991, the annual fiesta is organised by the Organisation for the Advancement of Nigerians (OAN) and Nigeria Independence Day Committee, a coalition of Nigerian cultural, professional and civil society groups.

It is touted by organisers as the largest celebration of Nigeria’s independence overseas, providing an opportunity for participants to showcase the country’s rich culture and tradition.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the parade normally holds on Second Avenue in Manhattan, New York, starting at 54th Street and ending at the Nigerian House on 44th Street.

But this year’s edition, streamed live on social media, saw the hosts and DJ operating from the Nigeria House’s conference hall under strict COVID-19 guidelines, with other participants hooking up remotely.

Gambari has been a strong supporter of the event since his time as Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations between 1990 and 1999.

In a pre-recorded video message, the chief of staff expressed pride in his country, saluting its resilience and relishing its triumphs over adversities.

“Since Independence, the country has gone through many challenges, but we have always survived and proven to the world that above all we are resilient.

“We have proven that we love Nigeria and want it to remain together to achieve the objective of a united, peaceful, prosperous and secure country,” he said.

Gambari lauded Nigerians in the Diaspora for making their country proud around the world in various fields of human endeavour.

“In fact, they are indispensable in many ways in the communities in which they live, and in the various services they provide. Please remain good citizens and ambassadors of our country in your various communities,” he said.

He also commended their enormous contributions to the development of their fatherland.

Gambari said it was a source of pride to him that the event has grown in size and popularity within and outside the U.S.

While congratulating the organisers and other participants, he urged them to keep celebrating the country, its culture, tradition and pride.

The Consul General of Nigeria in New York, Mr Benaoyagha Okoyen, who was the Chief Host, said Nigeria had come of age at 60.

Okoyen stated that in spite of its current challenges, the country was well on its way to becoming the global destination for tourism and investments.

He said: “We have all the requirements of becoming an economic force in the world. More importantly, the greatest asset of Nigeria is the human capital which the nation has in abundance.

“This is why other countries are envious of young Nigerian professionals in Diaspora who are very knowledgeable, experienced, dynamic, talented and resilient.

“Nigeria celebrates you today,” the envoy said, urging them to continue to think home and sustain their contributions to the development of the fatherland”.

Categories
Opinion

Who will buy Nigeria?

By Ebele Orakpo

‘Abeg, where is Nigeria headed?” asked Iyke, a commuter in the CMS-bound bus. “The President is saying we should sell our assets. Is that the solution? Sell to who?

The same people that stole us dry? Remember the Bureau of Public Enterprise wahala? How those at the helm sold to themselves and their cronies?”

“But why can’t these leaders sit down and think of a way of solving the problems and getting the nation back on her feet? Is selling of assets the solution?” asked John.

Said Mary: “My take is this: If selling of our assets will help us, then let’s do it. After all, the government is not managing anything well. Government is not meant to run any business but to make policies and create conducive environment for the private sector to grow the economy.”

“Funny enough, it was Dangote who suggested the sale of assets. I’m sure he is ready to buy. According to him, Nigeria is better off doing that than going to borrow from the international market,” said Joe.

Said John: “Tell me, you are kidding?! How could he say that?” Someone like him that has benefitted immensely from the government should have been thinking of lending money to Nigeria to help her get out of recession. But alas, he is thinking of how to buy more of our assets. Haba! He has benefitted from this country so much for crying out loud!”

map-nigeria-56

“I wasn’t joking at all. I saw him on TV and heard him clearly,” said Joe.

“If na you be Dangote, you go lend money to Nigerian government? I pity whoever will do that because the same politicians will corner the money for personal use while the masses continue to suffer. My own worry be say if we sell our assets to individuals, we become slaves to them. Na dat time we go see the one wey pass senior cabal,” said Iyke.

“E be like say this government has given us a selling spirit. People now sell their property and children in order to survive. Abeg, make them sell Nigeria too to someone that will manage her better,” said Pat.

Said Mary: “Ah, make I talk the latest. Now in Niger State, people are so hungry that they waylay school children and take their food from them. But seriously, we wouldn’t have been in this mess if Jonathan had saved for the rainy day.”

“O yeah? And you have conveniently forgotten when some governors took the Federal Government to the Supreme Court to compel Dr. Okonjo-Iweala to share the money she was supposed to save for the rainy day? The court ruled that the government has no right saving that money. Now the chickens have come home to roost, so let all of us enjoy the ride,” said Iyke.

“I will suggest that instead of selling our assets to a few individuals, we should make the politicians, from PMB, to his vice, NASS members, governors etc, all stop taking allowances and the Presidential fleet sold for starters. All the extra bomb and bullet-proof vehicles sold. That will get us somewhere,” said Mercy.

“Hmmm, you are on your own oo. Senator Adeyeye suggested the senators should reduce their estacodes, salaries, etc and they shouted him down,” said John.

 

Categories
News

Nigerian lady poses nude for independence day celebration (photo)

Everyone with his/her style of celebration all in the name of arts. This lady is not left out as she brought to the floor new way to make her own independence day, namely posing nude.

The young lady stripped naked to celebrate Nigeria’s 56th Independence Day.

Lady poses naked for Nigeria

Lady poses naked for Nigeria

According to her, she did it because it is art. She’s stripped down naked, just covered in green and white paint to mark our dear country’s 2016 Independence Day.

What do you think; is this normal or wield?

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Politics

Buhari lied to Nigerians in his Independence Day Message – Reno Omokri

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Former aide to the former president Goodluck Jonathan, Reno Omokri has accused the president, Muhammadu Buhari of lying to Nigerians in his 56th Independence day message to the nation.

In an article released on his Facebook page entitled “An Analysis of President Muhammadu Buhari’s Lies in the 56th Independence Day Anniversary Broadcast,” Reno Omokri maintained that the president should not have resorted to lying to save his neck from the noose.

The statement reads:

These are the preliminary list of lies from President Buhari’s 2016 Independence Day Speech. More may be exposed as I detect them.

President Buhari lied when he said only ₦400 million was voted for housing in 2014. A total of ₦12,888,821,003 was allocated.

Even the salary of the staff of the housing ministry is above ₦400 million. President Buhari should be above lying.

President Buhari lied when he said Nigeria was ‘a pariah’ under GEJ. Then British Prime Minister, David Cameron and incumbent German Chancellor, Angela Merkel do not visit pariah countries. They and many others visited Nigeria under Jonathan.

President Buhari lied by saying ‘Investors from all over are falling over themselves to come do business in Nigeria’. The reverse is true. According to Bloomberg, the divestment of foreign investors from Nigeria is unprecedented. Not only are foreign investors fleeing Nigeria faster than jets (an exaggeration on my part to demonstrate pun as airlines use jets) no fewer than 5 foreign airlines have left Nigeria. Don’t take my word for it. Google it yourself.

President Buhari lied when he said only ₦12 billion went to roads in 2015. Between 2014 and 2015 SURE-P Government intervention spent over ₦70 billion on roads. Please again Google this by yourself.

President Buhari did not say the whole truth when he claims to have generated 5000MWs. He conveniently forgot to mention that those power stations were built by Jonathan and other PDP leaders. President Buhari has not built even one station. This is sheer dishonesty!

President Buhari lied when he claimed ‘nothing was saved during years of prosperity’. He inherited over $30 Billion in reserves and savings from Jonathan.

As President Buhari was busy condemning Jonathan he didn’t tell you he borrowed ₦2.2 Trillion in a year. That’s the only major area of the economy where he beats Jonathan.

In conclusion, President Buhari’s Independence Day speech contained so many lies, exaggerations and inaccuracies. Need I remind the President that lying is corruption! #PMBIndependenceLie

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headline

Nigeria @56: Full text of President Buhari’s Independent Anniversay speech

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Today – 1st October is a day of celebration for us Nigerians. On this day, 56 years ago our people achieved the most important of all human desires – freedom and independence. We should all therefore give thanks and pray for our founding fathers without whose efforts and toil we would not reap the bounties of today.

2. I know that uppermost in your minds today is the economic crisis. The recession for many individuals and families is real. For some It means not being able to pay school fees, for others it’s not being able to afford the high cost of food (rice and millet) or the high cost of local or international travel, and for many of our young people the recession means joblessness, sometimes after graduating from university or polytechnic.

3. I know how difficult things are, and how rough business is. All my adult life I have always earned a salary and I know what it is like when your salary simply is not enough. In every part of our nation people are making incredible sacrifices.

4. But let me say to all Nigerians today, I ran for office four times to make the point that we can rule this nation with honesty and transparency, that we can stop the stealing of Nigeria’s resources so that the resources could be used to provide jobs for our young people, security, infrastructure for commerce, education and healthcare.

5. I ran for office because I know that good government is the only way to ensure prosperity and abundance for all. I remain resolutely committed to this objective.

6. I believe that this recession will not last.

7. Temporary problems should not blind or divert us from the corrective course this government has charted for our nation. We have identified the country’s salient problems and we are working hard at lasting solutions.
8. To re-cap what I have been saying since the inception of this administration, our problems are security, corruption and the economy, especially unemployment and the alarming level of poverty.

9. On Security, we have made progress. Boko Haram was defeated by last December – only resorting to cowardly attacks on soft targets, killing innocent men, women and children.

10. Nigerians should thank our gallant men of the Armed Forces and Police for rescuing large areas of the country captured by insurgents. Now, residents in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States, as well as several neighbouring states go about their daily business in relative safety. People can go to mosques, churches, market places in reasonable safety.

11. Commuters can travel between cities, towns and villages without fear. Credit for this remarkable turn-round should go to our Armed Forces, the Police, various sponsored and private vigilante groups, the local traditional leaders. Security is a top to bottom concern and responsibility.

12. Besides Boko Haram, we are confronting other long-running security issues, namely herdsmen vs farmers, cattle rustling, kidnappings. This Administration is firmly resolved to tackle these challenges and to defeat them.

13. A new insurgency has reared up its head in the shape of blowing up gas and oil pipelines by groups of Niger Delta Militants. This Administration will not allow these mindless groups to hold the country to ransom.

14. What sense is there to damage a gas line as a result of which many towns in the country including their own town or village is put in darkness as a result? What logic is there in blowing up an export pipeline and as a result income to your state and local governments and consequently their ability to provide services to your own people is reduced?

15. No group can unlawfully challenge the authority of the Federal Government and succeed. Our Administration is fully sympathetic to the plight of the good people of Niger Delta and we are in touch with the State Governments and leaderships of the region. It is known that the clean-up of the Ogoniland has started. Infrastructural projects financed by the Federal Government and post amnesty programme financing will continue.

16. We have however, continued to dialogue with all groups and leaders of thought in the region to bring lasting peace.

17. Corruption is a cancer which must be fought with all the weapons at our disposal. It corrodes the very fabric of government and destroys society. Fighting corruption is Key, not only to restoring the moral health of the nation, but also to freeing our enormous resources for urgent socio-economic development.

18. In fighting corruption, however, the government would adhere strictly by the rule of law. Not for the first time I am appealing to the judiciary to join the fight against corruption.

19. The Third Plank in this Administration’s drive to CHANGE Nigeria is re-structuring the economy. Economies behaviour is cyclical. All countries face ups and downs. Our own recession has been brought about by a critical shortage of foreign exchange. Oil price dropped from an average of hundred USD per barrel over the last decade to an average of forty USD per barrel this year and last.

20. Worse still, the damage perpetrated by Niger Delta thugs on pipelines sometimes reduced Nigeria’s production to below One million barrels per day against the normal two point two million barrels per day. Consequently, the naira is at its weakest, but the situation will stabilize.

21. But this is only temporary. Historically about half our dollar export earnings go to importation of petroleum and food products! Nothing was saved for the rainy days during the periods of prosperity. We are now reaping the whirlwinds of corruption, recklessness and impunity.

22. There are no easy solutions, but there are solutions nonetheless and Government is pursuing them in earnest. We are to repair our four refineries so that Nigeria can produce most of our petrol requirements locally, pending the coming on stream of new refineries. That way we will save ten billion USD yearly in importing fuel.

23. At the same time, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and the Central Bank have been mobilized to encourage local production of rice, maize, sorghum, millet and soya beans. Our target is to achieve domestic self-sufficiency in these staples by 2018.

24. Already farmers in thirteen out of thirty six states are receiving credit support through the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Anchor Borrowers Programme. Kebbi state alone this year is expected to produce one million tonnes of locally grown rice, thanks to a favourable harvest this year. As part of the 13 states, Lagos and Ogun are also starting this programme. Rice alone for example costs Nigeria two billion USD to import.

25. The country should be self-sufficient in basic staples by 2019. Foreign exchange thus saved can go to industrial revival requirements for retooling, essential raw materials and spare parts. It is in recognition of the need to re-invigorate agriculture in our rural communities that we are introducing the LIFE programme.

26. Government recognises that irrigation is key to modern agriculture: that is why the Ministries of Agriculture and Water Resources are embarking on a huge programme of development of lakes, earth dams and water harvesting schemes throughout the country to ensure that we are no longer dependent on rain-fed agriculture for our food requirements.

27. In addition, government is introducing Water Resources Bill encompassing the National Water Resources Policy and National Irrigation and Drainage Policy to improve management of water and irrigation development in the country. We are reviving all the twelve River Basin Authorities, namely;

I. Anambra – Imo
II. Benin – Owena
III. Chad Basin
IV. Cross River
V. Hadejia – Jama’are
VI. Lower Benue
VII. Lower Niger
VIII. Niger Delta
IX. Ogun – Osun
X. Sokoto – Rima
XI. Upper Benue
XII. Upper Niger

28. The intention is eventually to fully commercialise them to better support crop production, aqua –culture and accelerated rural development.

29. This Administration is committed to the revival of Lake Chad and improvement of the hydrology and ecology of the basin. This will tune in with efforts to rehabilitate the thirty million people affected by the Boko Haram insurgency in the Lake Chad basin countries.

30. The second plank in our economic revival strategy is centred on the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing. The Ministry will lead and oversee the provision of critical infrastructure of power, road transport network and housing development.

31. Power generation has steadily risen since our Administration came on board from three thousand three hundred and twenty four megawatts in June 2015, rising to a peak of five thousand and seventy four megawatts in February 2016.

32. For the first time in our history the country was producing five thousand megawatts. However, renewed militancy and destruction of gas pipelines caused acute shortage of gas and constant drop in electricity output available on the grid.

33. There has been during the period June 2015 to September 2016 big improvement in transmission capacity from five thousand five hundred megawatts to the present seven thousand three hundred megawatts.

34. There were only two system collapses between June and December 2015, but due to vandalism by Niger Delta militants the over-all system suffered 16 system collapses between March and July 2016 alone. As I have said earlier, we are engaging with responsible leadership in the region to find lasting solutions to genuine grievances of the area but we will not allow a tiny minority of thugs to cripple the country’s economy.

35. In the meantime, government is going ahead with projects utilizing alternate technologies such as hydro, wind, and solar to contribute to our energy mix. In this respect, the Mambilla Hydro project, after many years of delay is taking off this year. Contract negotiations are nearing completion with Chinese firms for technical and financial commitments.

36. The project is to be jointly financed by Nigeria and the Chinese-Export-Import Bank. In addition, fourteen Solar Power Projects have had their power purchase agreements concluded. Hence the plan to produce one thousand two hundred megawatts of solar electricity for the country would be realized on schedule.

37. And in line with the objective of government to complete all abandoned projects across the country, the Rural Electrification Agency’s projects needing completion are provided for in the 2016 Budget. Bringing electricity to rural areas will help farmers, small scale and cottage industries to integrate with the national economy.

38. Roads Construction and Rehabilitation has taken off. The sum of twelve billion naira was allocated to this sector in the 2015 Budget, not enough even to pay interest on outstanding unpaid claims.

39. Notwithstanding the budgetary constraints, the current budget allocated two hundred and forty billion naira for highway projects against twelve billion naira in 2015. Many contractors who have not been paid for three years have now remobilized to sites. Seven hundred and twenty point five billion naira has so far been released this budget year to capital projects.

40. The Ministry of Power, Works and Housing has received one hundred and ninety seven point five billion naira. Work on the following highways has now resumed.

1. Dualization of Calabar – Itu Road in Cross River/Akwa Ibom States.
2. Dualization of Lokoja – Benin Road, Ehor – Benin city, Edo State.
3. Re-construction of outstanding sections of Benin – Shagamu Express way, Edo/Ogun States.
4. Expansion works on Lagos – Ibadan Dual carriageway, Ogun/Oyo States
5. Rehabilitation of Onitsha – Enugu Expressway, Anambra/Enugu States.
6. Rehabilitation and Reconstruction of Enugu – Port Harcourt Dual carriageway, Abia/Rivers States.
7. Rehabilitation of Hadejia – Nguru Road, Jigawa State.
8. Dualization of Kano – Katsina Road, Kano State.
9. Dualization of Kano – Maiduguri Road, Borno State.
10. Dualization of Azare – Potiskum Road, Azare – Sharuri Road, Bauchi State.

11. Rehabilitation of Ilorin – Jebba – Mokwa – Birnin Gwari Road, Kwara State.
12. Construction of Oju/Lokoja – Oweto Bridge over River Benue, Benue State.

41. Other major highways are in the queue for rehabilitation or new construction.

42. Already contractors have recalled about nine thousand workers laid off and Government expects that several hundreds of thousands of workers will be reengaged in the next few months as our public works programme gains momentum.

43. On railways, we have provided our counterpart funding to China for the building of our standard gauge Lagos -Kano railway. Meanwhile, General Electric is investing two point two billion USD in a concession to revamp, provide rolling stock, and manage the existing lines, including the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri Line. The Lagos-Calabar railway will also be on stream soon.

44. We have initiated the National Housing Programme. In 2014 four hundred million naira was voted for Housing. In 2015 nothing. Our first budget this year is devoting thirty five point six billion naira. Much of the house building will be private – sector led but Government is initiating a pilot housing scheme of two thousand eight hundred and thirty eight units uniformly spread across the 36 states and FCT.

45. We expect these units to be completed within 4 – 6 months. These experimental Nigeria House model Units will be constructed using only made in Nigeria building materials and components. This initiative is expected to reactivate the building materials manufacturing sector, generate massive employment opportunities and develop sector capacity and expertise.

46. The programmes I have outlined will revive the economy, restore the value of the naira and drive hunger from our land.

47. Abroad, Nigeria’s standing has changed beyond belief in the last 18 months. We are no longer a pariah state. Wherever I go, I have been received with un-accustomed hospitality. Investors from all over the world are falling over themselves to come and do business in Nigeria. This government intends to make business environment more friendly because we can not develop ourselves alone.

48. All countries, no matter how advanced, welcome foreign investments to their economy. This is the essence of globalization and no country in the 21st century can be an island. Our reforms are therefore designed to prepare Nigeria for the 21st century.

49. Finally, let me commend Nigerians for your patience, steadfastness and perseverance. You know that I am trying to do the right things for our country.

50. Thank you and may God bless our country.