President Buhari Full text speech on January 1st 2018


Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari gave
his 2018 New Year's National broadcast this
morning.
In his speech, the President had very strong
words for those who may have been behind
the recent fuel scarcity that the nation
experienced saying, 'I am determined to get to
the root of this collective blackmail of all
Nigerians and ensure that whichever groups are
behind this manipulated hardship will be
prevented from doing so again.
Such unpatriotism will not divert the
Administration from the course we have set
ourselves'.
Read the full speech below...
I join my fellow citizens this morning
to welcome and celebrate the New
Year 2018. This year promises to be
pivotal in our quest for CHANGE.
Unfortunately, I am saddened to
acknowledge that for many
this Christmas and New Year holidays
have been anything but merry and
happy. Instead of showing love,
companionship and charity, some of
our compatriots chose this period to
inflict severe hardship on us all by
creating unnecessary fuel scarcity
across the country.
The consequence was that not many
could travel and the few who did had
to pay exorbitant transport fares. This
is unacceptable given that NNPC had
taken measures to ensure availability
at all depots. I am determined to get
to the root of this collective blackmail
of all Nigerians and ensure that
whichever groups are behind this
manipulated hardship will be prevented
from doing so again.
Such unpatriotism will not divert the
Administration from the course we
have set ourselves. Our government’s
watch word and policy thrust is
CHANGE. We must change our way of
doing things or we will stagnate and
be left behind in the race to lift our
people out of poverty and into
prosperity.
My address to fellow Nigerians this
morning is devoted mainly to informing
you about the intense efforts this
Administration is putting to address
our country’s huge infrastructural
deficit.
We are going to make significant in-
roads in advancing road, rail and
power projects across the country.
The Ministry of Power, Works and
Housing is one of the drivers
of this Government’s commitment to
renew and increase Nigeria’s stock of
infrastructure in order to achieve
global economic
competitiveness as targeted under the
Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.
With regards to Railways, we have set
ourselves ambitious targets. Already in
construction stage is the Lagos-Kano
Standard Gauge Railway.
The line should reach Ibadan from
Lagos by the end of this year and will
carry two million passengers per year
and five million tons of cargo will be
transported every year giving a
substantial boost to the country’s
economy.
Construction of the Kano – Kaduna
segment is expected to commence
this year and reach Kaduna by the end
of 2019. By the end of 2021 the two
ends will be joined so that we will
have standard gauge railway across
the main North-South trading route.
The Abuja – Kaduna route will be
boosted by additional rolling
stock next Thursday and will be able
to handle one million commuters
annually.
At the same time I have approved and
negotiations will be concluded in the
first part of this year for the Port
Harcourt to
Maiduguri line covering Aba, Owerri,
Umuahia, Enugu, Awka,
Abakaliki, Makurdi, Lafia, Jos, Bauchi,
Gombe, Yola and Damaturu. The
Abuja to Itakpe line will go
through Baro and terminates in Warri
with construction of a new seaport at
Warri.
Negotiations are also advanced for the
construction ofother railway
lines, firstly from Kano to Maradi in
Niger Republic passing through
Kazaure, Daura, Katsina, Jibiato
Maradi.
Secondly, Lagos to
Calabar the “Coastal Rail” through
Ore, Benin, Agbor, Asaba, Onitsha,
Sapele, Ughelli,
Warri, Yenagoa, Otuoke, Port
Harcourt, Aba, Uyo and Calabar. In
the next few years, all these Nigerian
cities will be linked by functional
modern rail systems, giving enormous
boost to the social and economic life
of our people.
With respect to the Abuja Capital Light
Rail, progress has reached 98%
completion, as at 64% completion
when we assumed office. Only test
runs remain before start of
operations.
This train service will stimulate
economic activities in the Federal
Capital and provide residents with an
efficient and safe transportation
system. Twelve railway sub-stations
around the capital over a
45.2 kilometre route will serve as a
catalyst and a pull factor to the
economy of the area. The Light Rail
System will reduce traffic congestion
and carbon emission in line with the
Administration’s policy on climate
change.
Management of the Federal Road
Maintenance Agency (FERMA) has
been reconstituted and has been
charged with a 12 week rapid
intervention in road repairs to cover all
the geo-political zones. Government is
undertaking repairs and maintenance
of 44 roads within the the six geo-
political zones.
Twenty five major highways will be
funded under the N100b SUKUK
facility. Each geo-political zone will
benefit by an equal amount of
N16.67b. The following major
highways are to receive special
attention:
a. Oyo – Ogbomosho,
b. Ofusu – Ore – Ajebandele –
Shagamu,
c. Yenegoa Road Junction –
Kolo Otuoke – Bayelsa Palm,
d. Enugu – Part Harcourt
Dual Carrriage Way,
e. Onitsha – Enugu Expressway,
f. Kaduna Eastern Bypass,
g. Dualization of Kano – Maiduguri
Road,
h. Dualization of Abuja – Lokoja –
Benin Road,
i. Dualization of Suleja – Minna Road.
In addition, Government has approved
work to start on the re-construction of
Abuja – Kaduna – Zaria – Kano
road which is in a state of disrepair.
Work will soon start and is expected to
be completed in 2019.
More Nigerians across the country are
experiencing improved power supply to
their homes and businesses. However,
power remains a concern to this
government because too many
people still do not have regular and
reliable supply.
The Payment Assurance Guarantee
Scheme which started in January 2016
has enabled the Nigerian Bulk
Electricity Trader to raise so far N701
billion to assure Generation Companies
of at least 80% payment for any power
delivered to the national grid.
Consequently, generation has now
reached 7,000MW. On December 8,
2017 the country achieved 5,155MW
of power delivered to consumers, the
highest level ever recorded.
Several moribund projects have been
revived. Repairs of Afam Power
Station added 110MW in 2017 and
another 240MW will be added this year
through a private investment
partnership.
Katsina Power Project is now being
tested and producing 10MW of power
from wind for the first time in Nigeria.
It should be fully operational this
year.
The Zungeru 700MW Hydroelectric
Power Project, stalled by court cases
is due for completion in 2019. The
transmission and other requirements
to operate the 30MW Gurara Phase 1
Hydroelectric Plant, the
40MW KashinbillaHydroelectric Plant
and the 215 MW Kaduna Gas/LPG/
Diesel Power Plant will also be
completed this year.
A landmark project, Mambilla
Hydroelectric Power Project is at last
taking off. This project has been on
the drawing Board for 40 years, but
now the engineering, procurement and
construction contract for the 3,050MW
project has been agreed with a
Chinese joint venture Company with a
financing commitment from the
government of China. Completion is
targeted for 2023.
As I mentioned earlier, the
Transmission Company of Nigeria can
now distribute all the 7,000MW that
can be generated. TCN and the Niger
Delta Holding Company have
added 1,950MVA of 330 down
to 132KV transformer capacity of 10
transmission stations and 2,930MVA of
132 down to 33KV transformer
capacity of 42 sub-stations including
Ikot Ekpene, Aba, Alagbon, Ajah, Ej
igbo, Funtuaand Zaria.?
This Administration is working with the
privatised distribution Companies to
overcome the continuing challenges of
distribution.
These massive public works should
spearhead the recovery and lead
millions back to employment. You will
recall that it was not until last year
that we got out of
the economic recession into which the
country had fallen as a consequence
of past unsustainable economic
policies which projected short-term
illusory growth.
The government is slowly stabilizing
the economy.
It was in order to change the steady
and steep decline that we adopted the
more sustainable policies
and programmes captured in the
Economic Recovery Plan.
Diversification efforts have resulted in
improved output particularly in
agriculture and solid minerals sectors.
The relative exchange rate
stability has improved manufacturing
sector performance.
We have got to get used to discipline
and direction in economic
management. The days of business as
usual are numbered.
Two years ago I appealed to people to
go back to the land. I am highly
gratified that agriculture has picked up,
contributing to the government’s effort
to re-structure the economy. Rice
imports will stop this year. Local rice,
fresher and more nutritious will be on
our dishes from nowon.
By the same token, I am today
appealing to enterprising Nigerians
with ideas and unemployed
graduates and other able-bodied and
literate men and women with ideas not
to just sit and wait for employment
from the government or the Organized
Private Sector. Great nations are built
by enterprising people who turn their
hands to anything that circumstances
dictate.
In respect of political developments, I
have kept a close watch on the on-
going debate about “Restructuring”. No
human law or edifice is perfect.
Whatever structure we develop must
periodically be perfected according to
changing circumstances and the
country’s socio-economic
developments. We Nigerians can be
very impatient and want to improve
our conditions faster than may be
possible considering our resources and
capabilities. When all the aggregates
of nationwide opinions are considered,
my firm view is that our problems are
more to do with process than
structure.
We tried the Parliamentary system: we
jettisoned it. Now there are shrill cries
for a return to the Parliamentary
structure. In older democracies these
systems took centuries to evolve so
we cannot expect a copied system to
fit neatly our purposes. We must give
a long period of trial and improvement
before the system we have adopted is
anywhere near fit for purpose.
However, there is a strong case for a
closer look at the cost of government
and for the public services long used
to extravagance, waste and corruption
to change for the better. I assure you
that government is ever receptive to
ideas which will improve governance
and contribute to the country’s peace
and stability.
As the electioneering season
approaches politicians must avoid
exploiting ethnicity and religion by
linking ethnicity with religion and
religion with politics. Such must be
avoided at all costs if we are to live in
harmony.
In this respect the rest of Nigeria
could learn from the South Western
States who have successfully
internalized religion, ethnicity and
politics.
Political discourse should be
conducted with civility, decorum and in
a constitutional manner. We all have a
collective responsibility to strengthen
our democracy and entrench the rule
of law. We should draw
encouragement from the series of bye-
elections conducted by INEC last year
which were generally violence free and
their outcomes adjudged to be free
and fair.
Before I conclude my address I must
reassure my fellow citizens that
security of life and property is still top
of our government’s agenda. We have
since beaten Boko Haram. Isolated
attacks still occur, but even the best-
policed countries cannot prevent
determined criminals from committing
terrible acts of terror as we have seen
during the past years in Europe, Asia,
Middle East, elsewhere in Africa
and in America.
Our government remains determined to
protect all Nigerians in line with our
election pledge and promises.On
behalf of all Nigerians let me offer our
thanks to the Armed forces, the
Police, other para-military forces and
traditional authorities who are working
round the clock to ensure that you and
I go about our normal business in
reasonable safety.
Terrorism and urban crimes are world-
wide phenomena and our security
forces are continuously adapting
their responses to changing threats.
With regard to rampant cases of
kidnappings, we are taking immediate
short-term measures to combat this
new evil creeping into our societies.
Tighter police methods
and swift and severe punishment for
those proved to be engaged in
kidnapping are on the way.
With respect to Niger
Delta, Government is still engaging
responsible leadership of the
Communities to help in identifying and
addressing genuine grievances of the
region. Our clean-up programme in
collaboration with the United Nations
is making satisfactory progress.
I am grateful to all the Governors and
other Political &Community leaders of
the Niger Delta States for their part in
bringing relative peace to the areas.
Finally let me again express my
heartfelt thanks to all Nigerians who
prayed for me during my illness last
year. I feel deeply humbled by your
prayers and good wishes and I am
more determined than ever to serve
you to the best of my ability.
Good morning. And I wish everyone a
Happy New Year.?

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