The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), on Friday, lamented that some individuals were “mercilessly” against Nigeria.
According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, Buhari spoke during the sixth regular meeting with the Presidential Economic Advisory Council led by Prof Doyin Salami at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Adesina, in the statement titled ‘We’ll develop our irrigation facilities more, President Buhari assures,’ quoted the PEAC as saying the security challenges had great repercussions on the economy.
He said the President urged the leadership at every level to go back to the basics, noting that a bottom-up approach was necessary from ward through local council and state to the federal level.
Buhari was said to have decried the situation in which some unscrupulous people tried to undermine every government policy, irrespective of the good it was meant to achieve for the country.
He quoted the President as saying, “Some people are mercilessly against this country. We closed the borders to control the smuggling of petroleum products, and check the influx of smuggled goods, arms and ammunition.
“That was when the Comptroller General of Customs called me, saying 40 tankers laden with petrol had been impounded. I told him to sell the fuel, sell the trucks, and put the money in the treasury. They still brought arms and ammunition into the country, brought in rice in vehicles and motorcycles.
“I said shoot anyone found illegally with AK-47 (rifles), yet they haven’t stopped. People must show consideration for their own country.”
The presidential spokesman also quoted Buhari as promising that the Federal Government would focus on greater development of irrigation facilities in the country and encourage more people to go into agriculture.
Buhari added that agriculture was a good way for the country to overcome the economic challenges confronting it, saying, “We need to go back to the land. Technology is doing away with petroleum, but we are lucky we have other resources – gas, vast arable land, which we are not using enough of.”
The President was said to have been responding to Salami’s disclosure, in his presentation, that only two per cent of land under cultivation is irrigated, recommending that apart from government efforts, incentives are needed for private people to enter the sector.
PEAC, according to the statement, submitted that the global economy continued to improve as COVID-19 infections dropped and rollout of vaccination intensified, adding that the Nigerian economy, though out of recession, remained fragile with inflation rising, unemployment high, and external account weak.
Policy, the economic advisory body said, “must urgently address the challenges of rising prices.”
Among other issues recommended by PEAC were a decisive end to all forms of insecurity in the country, mobilisation of resources for investment, hastened implementation of agricultural reform policies, passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill as a basis for revitalising the industry, poverty reduction, employment generation, and incentives for private investment in irrigation, to promote year-round farming.
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