In his second independence day speech, President Muhammadu Buhari spoke on issues of interest ranging from calls for restructuring, the federal government’s diversification policy for the economy, institutional reforms in the nation’s political landscape and efforts aimed at restoring peace and security to the country.
Here are some highlights of his speech which hinged on national security, the economy and corruption.
On restructuring and political freedom
Buhari expressed confidence in the nation’s’ present state of political freedom, hinting that his administration has consistently upheld freedom of speech and association, but this should not be abused to the detriment of national unity.
In his words, “recent calls on re-structuring, quite proper in a legitimate debate, has let in highly irresponsible groups to call for dismemberment of the country. We cannot and we will not allow such advocacy.”
On battling terrorism and ensuring national security
While admitting that terrorism is an ongoing battle the government is deeply involved in, Buhari maintained that the armed forces had made remarkable strides in scaling down the security threats by Boko Haram and other insurgents.
“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 said.
On re-balancing the economy
Speaking on the state of the nation’s economy, the president mentioned successful development initiatives his government had put in place, including but not limited to the “agricultural Anchor Borrowers Programme,” effective power sector reforms- leading to a launch of the Mambilla Power Project and the current N500 billion Special Intervention Programme.
Listing the achievements of his administration, Buhari mentioned the rollout of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) development finance initiatives to tackle unemployment, a sum of N1.642 trillion financial allocation to states across the federation between 2015 and 2017 and an improved business confidence in the economy due to improved foreign exchange, manufacturing, and export promotion programmes.
“Broad-based economic growth is leading us out of recession,” he declared.
On tackling corruption at all levels
As regards institutional reforms on the nation’s polity, the president mentioned administering the treasury single account (TSA), whistle-blowers policy, and an integrated payroll personnel and information system.
Prompting the national assembly to refocus its mandate on the “swift passage of enabling corruption laws,” the president maintained that the government “for its part will work for accountability at all levels – federal, state and local governments.”
The president also spoke on multilateral cooperation agreements that had been signed on criminal matters with friendly countries.
He enjoined Nigerians to join hands in the fight against corruption at all levels.