Buhari’s Independence Day speech addressed several issues of national importance.
SunriseNigeria brings you major highlights of the president’s speech:
‘PAST 18 MONTHS MOST DIFFICULT PERIOD IN NIGERIA’
In his speech, Buhari said the past 18 months have been the most difficult period in the history of the country, saying he doubts that the country has experienced such challenges since the civil war.
He also addressed the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on Nigeria and how the country defied the prediction of doom about the pandemic.
Buhari advised Nigerians to adhere to public health measures and get vaccinated to contain the spread of the deadly virus.
“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,” the president said.
“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.”
‘OVER 8,000 BOKO HARAM MEMBERS SURRENDERED’
The president commended security agencies for the “tremendous progress” made in tackling the country’s security challenges.
Buhari said over 8,000 Boko Haram members have surrendered, adding that his administration is taking the fight to the country’s enemies from all angles.
The president said over 17,000 personnel have been recruited into the Nigerian armed forces and that he has approved the recruitment of 10,000 police officers annually to support the fight against insurgency.
‘FEDERAL LAWMAKER, HIGH-PROFILE INDIVIDUALS FINANCING KANU, IGBOHO’
The president disclosed that a member of the national assembly and high-profile individuals are financing secessionist leaders like Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho.
Buhari said some persons are using words to plant the “seeds of violence” in the hearts of Nigerians, which he said has led to the loss of innocent lives and destruction of property.
The president asked Nigerians to speak against “unsubstantiated lies and hate speeches” peddled by “evil people”, saying the country’s unity is non-negotiable.
‘MIDDLEMEN CAUSING HIKE IN FOOD PRICES’
In the speech, the president blamed middlemen for the hike in the prices of food items and food shortages in the country.
The president said middlemen have created “artificial shortages” through the hoarding of essential commodities for profiteering.
Buhari said the agricultural sector remains the key to the country’s economic diversification, adding that agriculture is a consistent driver of the non-oil sector.
‘MISUSE OF SOCIAL MEDIA FOR EXECUTING CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES’
On social media, the president said social networking platforms are useful for social connection, but that recent events have shown that the social media is not immune from disinformation.
Buhari said some social media users have used the platforms to organise criminal activities and propagate fake news.
The president also said he has directed that the ban on Twitter be lifted but “only if the conditions are met to allow our citizens continue the use of the platform for business and positive engagements”.
‘OVERHAUL OF PETROLEUM INDUSTRY’
The president commented on the efforts of his administration to overhaul the petroleum industry and to ensure equitable consideration to host communities with the recently enacted Petroleum Industry Act, 2021.
Buhari said the country is on the right track with its roadmap on local refining, adding that the modular refinery in Edo state will be inaugurated by the end of 2021, while the one in Bayelsa will be inaugurated by 2022.
‘NO GOVT SINCE 1999 HAS DONE WHAT WE’VE DONE IN SIX YEARS’
Buhari said no administration since 1999 has done what his administration has done in six years to put the country back on the right track.
The president said he understands the anxiety of many Nigerians on the inability of the country to move beyond its “never-ending potential” to become a great nation.
He said critics of his administration “misdiagnose incremental progress as stagnation”, adding that his administration has tackled the country’s problems “head-on” amid the little resources.