Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari said Thursday that he believes that without addressing the problem of security, the country’s economy cannot grow.
Mr Buhari stated this in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, while commissioning some projects.
Nigeria has been battling with security challenges for over a decade leading to the deaths of tens of thousands of people.
Although the Boko Haram insurgency, which has claimed about 100,000 lives, preceded the Buhari administration, other forms of insecurity have worsened since Mr Buhari assumed office in 2015.
The North-west region, which was relatively safe compared to the North-east, has become a theatre of war as marauding bandits attack communities at will. Thousands of people have been killed by the bandits in the region, as well as in the North-central, since Mr Buhari assumed office.
Also, separatist agitations have become violent in the South-east with hundreds of people, including security officials, killed in the region.
Amidst the killings, kidnapping for ransom has become rampant in many parts of the country.
PREMIUM TIMES has reported how the violence has worsened food production in Nigeria, with many farmers deserting their farms and communities for fear of being killed or kidnapped. This has worsened unemployment and led to rising food prices.
In his speech on Thursday, Mr Buhari said his administration will keep giving its best for the development of the country until May 2023, reiterating that he will handover as stipulated by the Constitution.
The president’s spokesperson, Femi Adesina, in a statement said Mr Buhari gave the assurance at the inauguration of Oriental Energies Resource Ltd Hanger, Muhammadu Indimi Distance Learning Centre and an International Conference Centre.
The centre was donated to the University of Maiduguri by businessman Muhammadu Indimi, in Maiduguri, on Thursday.
President Buhari also inaugurated the Tijjani Bolori Memorial Secondary School and the first fly-over in Borno State, Custom Roundabout (3.5km) with a stretch of 10 km Gamboru Ngala Road constructed by the state government.
“I know I swore by the Constitution, and I will leave in 17 months. I pray that the person that will take over from us will also follow the targets of securing the country and building the economy.
“Without securing the country, you cannot grow the economy,” Mr Buhari said.
He added that Nigerians should appraise the performance of the administration based on what the situation was on security, economy and corruption before he came in, and where it is now.
“We have a great country,” he said, “and we thank God for giving us so much resources. But we need to develop our resources.”
The president noted that development would be more sustainable by empowering the people.
On security in the North-west, he said it was sad that the people who lived together, sharing same culture and outlook for a long time would start stealing, kidnapping and killing one another.
According to him, the military will come down hard on the North-west to stabilise the situation, having procured more hardwares.
“I am highly impressed with what I have seen at this state of the art Centre for Distance Learning and auditorium sited here, the University of Maiduguri. I am told that this international conference hall has 1,300 seats.
”The high quality standard of this edifice is a major contribution by Alhaji Muhammadu Indimi. This intervention will benefit not only students from Borno and the North-east but also students from all parts of Nigeria.
“For the Oriental Energy Resources Hangar which I commissioned, it will welcome and offer support services to aircraft and pilots involved with Humanitarian Air Services,” the president noted.
Mr Buhari also commended the Governor of Borno, Babagana Zulum, for the work he had done in two years, noting that he was in the state earlier in June to commission developmental projects.