Independence: I’ll continue to work for a united Nigeria, Buhari promises

President Muhammadu Buhari has promised to continue to work tirelessly to promote, protect and preserve a united, peaceful, prosperous and secure Nigeria.

He said he was committed to ensuring that Nigeria became a country where all, irrespective of background, could aspire to succeed.

Buhari made the promise in his national broadcast aired early on Monday to mark the nation’s 58th Independence anniversary.

Taking a look at the nation’s journey in the past 58 years, the President said Nigeria had come a long way even if the journey had not ended.

He said, “As we celebrate the 58th anniversary of our Independence, we know we are on the right path.

“Although we have our differences, they count for far less than the values, virtues and common aspirations that unite us as a nation

We have so much for which we should be grateful, and in which we should rightly take pride. Our journey is not finished but we have come a long way.

“I want to assure you that as President, I will continue to work tirelessly to promote, protect and preserve what really matters: a united, peaceful, prosperous and secure Nigeria, where all, irrespective of background, can aspire to succeed.”

Describing the anniversary as a day of celebration and solemn reflection, Buhari lauded and remembered the nation’s founding fathers who he said laboured so hard and sacrificed so much to build and bequeath a nation like Nigeria.

He said it was the responsibility of all stakeholders to consolidate the great legacy.

While saying that there had been a steady improvement in the security situation in the North-East, the President said he remained committed to ending the crisis and making the region safe for all.

He promised not to allow the Boko Haram sect achieve its goals which he said included capturing territories, destroying democracy and denying children the right to education.

Buhari paid glowing tribute to the men and women of our armed forces, the police and other security and law enforcement agencies, who he said had been working under the most difficult conditions to keep the country safe.

“As their Commander-In-Chief, I assure these our gallant men and women that I will continue to empower them by deepening their professionalism and providing all the necessary force multipliers and enablers required for them to prevail on the field.

“I am looking into all reported cases of inadequacies in relation to their entitlements, their welfare and those of their families,” he said.

The President also noted that efforts were on course in the Niger Delta to clean up polluted lands, restore hopes of the youth in the region and re-establish livelihoods, as well as strengthen their capacity to guarantee for themselves and for the country a brighter future.

He also said his administration had put machinery in place to end the incessant herdsmen and farmers clashes across the country.

He promised to deal decisively with perpetrators of violence.

He urged stakeholders to resist the temptation of viewing the conflict as either religious or ethnic based.

Buhari said, “The age-long conflict between herders and farmers that was being exploited by those seeking to plant the seeds of discord and disunity amongst our people, is being addressed decisively.

“We will sustain and continue to support the commendable efforts by all including civil society organisations, local and states governments and our traditional and religious leaders in finding a durable solution to this problem.

“This being a transhumance issue, we are working with countries in our region that are also facing similar difficulties to complement our common efforts.

In this context, I must warn that the perpetrators of murder and general mayhem in the name of defending or protecting herders or farmers will face the full wrath of the law.

“Meanwhile, we urge all peace-loving Nigerians to reject any simplistic portrayal, at home or abroad, of this conflict as either religious or ethnic-based.”

The President noted that Nigeria is one of the countries in the world most affected by environmental degradation, as a consequence of climate change.

According to the President, the nation is a signatory to almost all conventions and agreements aimed at slowing down the effect of climate change and mitigating its evident consequences.

The consequences on lives and livelihoods of the shrinking of the Lake Chad and the pollution caused by oil exploitation activities alone, he said, made it mandatory on the government to be at the forefront of the struggle for a safer and more sustainable environment.

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