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Buhari vows to make citizens smile, talks tough on budget, security

By NAN
10 October 2021   |   2:24 pm
President Muhammadu Buhari has renewed the determination of his administration to uplift the quality of life of Nigerians through aggressive implementation of humane and gender responsive budget as well as security measures to check criminal activities in the country.

Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has renewed the determination of his administration to uplift the quality of life of Nigerians through aggressive implementation of humane and gender responsive budget as well as security measures to check criminal activities in the country.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the president presented the 2022 Appropriation Bill for an aggregate expenditure of N16.39 trillion to the joint session of the National Assembly (NASS) on Thursday.

The president described the 2022 Appropriation which was earlier approved for presentation to NASS by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Oct. 6, as Budget of Economic Growth and Sustainability.

According to him, the 2022 budget is also the first in the nation’s history, where Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) were clearly advised on gender responsive budgeting.

The president seized the opportunity of the budget presentation to provide an overview of global and domestic developments in the country.

While observing the COVID-19 protocol during his presentation, the president also gave a summary of his administration’s achievements and its plans for the next fiscal year.

President Buhari stressed that these were exceptional times for Nigeria.

He said: “The grim realities of COVID-19 and its lethal variants are still upon us. From president to pauper, the virus does not discriminate.

“This is why our country still maintains its COVID-19 guidelines and protocols in place to protect citizens and stop the spread of this disease.’’

Buhari had earlier returned to Abuja on Oct. 5 after attending the inauguration of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia for a second five-year term in office.

The Nigerian leader was in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopia capital, on Sunday where he delivered a goodwill message at the inauguration event held at the historic Meskel Square.

NAN reports that other African leaders at the event included the Presidents of Djibouti, Kenya, South Sudan, Senegal, Somalia, Uganda and the Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Also while in Addis Ababa, Buhari had on Oct. 5 met with President Salva Kiir of South Sudan where he expressed Nigeria’s readiness to assist South Sudan to achieve political and economic stability.

The president assured the full support of Nigeria to all efforts to bring long-term stability and prosperity to the continent.

On Oct. 6, the Federal Government warned that it may be forced to impose State of Emergency in Anambra to ensure peaceful conduct of the forthcoming gubernatorial election in the state.

The Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federal, Abubakar Malami, gave the warning when he fielded questions from State House correspondents at the end of the meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

The meeting was presided over by Buhari in Abuja on Wednesday.

NAN observed that stakeholders in Anambra project including the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had raised alarm over the upsurge in cases of violent attacks on individuals and government facilities in Anambra as the governorship election in the state draws closer.

The minister, however, threatened that the federal government may declare a state of emergency, if the security situation in the state did not improve.

Buhari also granted audience to a team from ExxonMobil Corporation led by Liam Mallon, its President on Upstream Oil and Gas, at State House Abuja, on Wednesday.

At the meeting, the president urged operators in the petroleum industry to take advantage of the new Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) to promote their investments in the oil and gas sector.

Also on Oct. 6, Buhari met behind closed doors with former president Goodluck Jonathan, in his office at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The agenda of the meeting was unknown to newsmen, while no official statement was issued on the outcome of the meeting.

Jonathan, who is ECOWAS Special Envoy to the Republic of Mali, had been updating Buhari on efforts by West African leaders to restore stability to the country.

The president on Oct. 7 also met behind closed door with Gov. Willie Obiano of Anambra at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

NAN observed that the meeting came barely 24 hours after the Federal Government had threatened to invoke emergency rule as part of measures to address security challenges and safeguard electoral process in the state.

Obiano, who spoke to State House correspondents at the end of the closed door meeting, said he updated the President on security challenges facing the state, saying bandits from neigbouring states are responsible for the killings and disruption of public peace in the state.

The governor, however, described the call for the declaration of State of Emergency in Anambra to address security challenges in the state as “very unfortunate’’.

On Oct. 8, the president, who also doubles as Ministry of Petroleum Resources, received the certificate of incorporation of the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited from the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).

He noted that with the certification of the company the country expected nothing less from the Board of Directors, the Chief Executive Officer, and the Chief Finance Officer, “than the realisation of a global national oil company that this nation desires and deserves”.

Under the recently signed Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), was expected to transform to a limited liability company, a fact that has now been accomplished.

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo was also in London, the United Kingdom, where he participated at different meetings including the High-Level United Nations event on the Energy Transition plan in Africa with special focus on Nigeria.

The meetings included first, a closed-door session with COP26 President-Designate, Mr Alok Sharma, a cabinet rank British Minister and the Chair of the UK Government’s COP26 Energy Transition Council (ETC) at Whitehall.

He was also at an interaction with the academic community at Imperial College followed by meetings of the Global Energy Alliance and presentations on the Nigeria Energy Transition Plan and Nigeria’s Integrated Energy Plan.

Osinbajo observed at Imperial College that Africa as a continent was home to the world’s youngest fastest growing population and in order to create jobs and enable climate-smart industrialisation, “the scale and quality of electricity services must increase significantly”.

Also on Friday, Buhari assented to the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (Amendment) Bill 2021 to boost agricultural activities in the country.

The president, who assented to the bill before his recent visit to Ethiopia, said the bill was in consonance with the commitment of his administration to diversify the economy with agriculture playing a critical role.

”With the amendment, the Council is expected to play a crucial part in coordinating research efforts in the agricultural sector towards achieving food sufficiency and security in the nation,” he added.

Buhari also approved the establishment of the Federal College of Agriculture, Kirikasamma, and the Federal College of Education (Special), Birnin Kudu, both in Jigawa.

NAN reports that a 55-minute documentary, titled: ”The Buhari Effect: Undeniable Achievements”, was aired on Channels Television on Oct. 9 at 7p.m.

The documentary, which is in view of some milestone of the administration of Buhari, would also be aired on Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) on Sunday at 7 p.m.

Buhari ended the week at the Passing Out Parade for Cadets of 68 Regular Course (Army, Navy and Air Force) in Kaduna, Kaduna State, where he pledged that the Federal Government would do everything within the ambit of the law to protect Nigerians from the activities of criminals.

The criminal activities, according to the president, include insurgency, banditry, kidnapping and politically motivated killings.

The president said that more equipment had been received from some friendly countries to improve the security operations in Nigeria.

According to him, the government remains focused on its priority of improving security, bolstering the economy and fighting corruption.