Buhari appeals for global intervention in northeast, Lake Chad
• Blames Corrupt Politicians For Resurgence Of Militancy In Niger Delta
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday called on the international community to ensure speedy global humanitarian action in the northeast and Lake Chad Basin.The President late on Thursday in New York, United States, blamed corrupt politicians for resurgence of militancy in the Niger Delta.
Buhari, while hosting Nigerian professionals based in the US, said it was obvious that those who mismanaged the country’s resources were determined to sabotage the current administration, adding that the problems confronting the country were as a result of the inability to “save for the rainy day.”
He stated: “We got into trouble, as a country, because we did not save for the rainy day. For example, between 1999 and 2015, when we produced an average of 2.1 million barrels of oil per day and oil prices stood at an average of $100 per barrel, we did not save, neither did we develop infrastructure. Suddenly, when we came in 2015, oil prices fell to about $30 per barrel.
“I asked, where are the savings? There were none. Where are the railways? The roads? Power? None! “I further asked; what did we do with billions of dollars that we made over the years? They said we bought food. Food with billions of dollars? I did not believe, and still do not believe.“In most parts of Nigeria, we eat what we grow. People in the south eat tubers, those in the north eat grains, which they plant, and those constitute over 60 per cent of what we eat. So, where did the billions of dollars go?
“We did a lot of damage to ourselves by not developing infrastructure when we had the money.“Those who stole Nigeria dry are not happy. They recruited the militants against us in the Niger Delta and began to sabotage oil infrastructure. We lose millions of barrels per day at a time when every dollar we can earn counts.“It is a disgrace that a minimum of 27 states out of 36 that we have in Nigeria can’t pay salaries.”Lamenting the effect of corruption on the operations of the military, Buhari recalled how the Nigerian armed forces commanded respect across the world.
“Talking of our military, they earned respect serving in places like Burma, Zaire, Sudan, Liberia, Sierra-Leone, and then suddenly, that same military could no longer secure 14 out of 774 local governments in the country.“Insurgents had seized them, calling them some sort of caliphate and planting their flags there till we came and scattered them.
“We raised the morale of our military, changed the leadership, re-equipped and retrained them. The US, Britain and some other countries helped us and today, the pride of our military is restored.”
The President thanked God for making his dream of becoming the head of a civilian government possible after three unsuccessful attempts.“I prayed so hard for God to make me president. I ran in 2003, 2007, 2011 and in 2015, He did. And see what I met on ground. But I can’t complain, since I prayed for the job.
“God has been very good to me, so I can’t complain. If I feel hurt by anybody, I ask God to help me forgive. He has done so much for me.”He told his audience that with all hands on deck, the country would bounce back in the shortest possible time.
The President told his audience that wherever you go in the world, you find highly competent and outstanding Nigerians, who not only make great impact on their host countries and communities, their financial remittances back home also help our economy, particularly at a time like this, when things are down.
“After 16 years of a different party in government, no party will come and have things easy. It is human. We need quality hands to run Nigeria and we will utilise them.“I will like to welcome you home when it is time, but I will like you to be ready.”
A statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, said Buhari made the appeal at a High-Level Event on ‘The Humanitarian Crisis in the Lake Chad Basin: A Turning Point,’ also in New York, jointly-sponsored by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the African Union (AU), the European Union (EU) and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
At the meeting held on the margins of the ongoing 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA71), Buhari appealled to the international community not to delay or downplay the need for humanitarian intervention in the areas affected by insurgency and socio-political unrest.
“It is time for collective global action to invest in the people of Nigeria’s Northeast and the Lake Chad Basin region.“We are renewing the call for re-dedicated international action to end the humanitarian needs of victims and address the root causes of terrorism itself,” he said.
The President said that the complexities and severity of humanitarian crisis across the world had increased in recent times, resulting in devastating repercussions.According to him, political and socio-economic structures as well as the growth trajectory of many countries have been negatively affected leaving traumatized populations.
“The dual impact of Climate Change and terrorism-cum-insurgency has created deeper implications for peace and security, social harmony and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),’’ he added.
While commending the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) for degrading Boko Haram, Buhari said that the Nigerian government had been fully responsive to the urgency to save lives, protect victims of insurgency and guarantee stability.
He added that the government would continue to facilitate the resumption of normal social and economic activities in the Northeast of the country.According to him, the federal government is not overwhelmed by the enormity of this humanitarian challenge, rather: “We remain resolute in defeating terrorism in all its forms.”
The President stated that his administration had put in place a people-driven counter-terrorism strategy built on a combination of revamped security operations and human rights-based approach.
He said that the approach would help to bring about rehabilitation, reintegration and reconstruction in the area.He said that Nigeria had been providing food support, reintegrated healthcare, shelter, psycho-social support and access to water and sanitation amenities for those in need.
“We are also engaging highly respected community and religious leaders to discourage vulnerable youth from being radicalized.’’Buhari expressed delight that displaced persons had begun to return to their communities in Konduga, Mafa, Benisheck and Ngala in the Northeast.
On the missing Chibok schoolgirls, he said that the unfortunate incident had remained in “our national consciousness.’’
He assured that his administration was working hard to ensure the release of all Nigerians held captive by Boko Haram, including the schoolgirls.On Lake Chad, the president said that the shrinking of the lake had adversely affected the communities around the basin by increasing their hardship.