Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari has urged Nigerians to welcome the year 2022 with hope and envisions a year of continued progress against combined challenges arising from security and socio-economic issues.
The President, in his New Year message to the nation, said the persistent insecurity in certain parts of the country might have threatened the incremental gains achieved in the real sectors of the economy and in the administration’s overall objective to position the nation on the irreversible trajectory of sustainable growth and progress.
According to him, the path to nationhood is often fraught with unpredictable difficulties and challenges, and most tried and tested nations often prevailed through dogged determination, resilience, concerted commitment to unity, and the conviction that the whole of the nation, standing together against all odds, is by far greater and would ultimately be more prosperous and viable than the sum of its distinguishable parts.
Buhari, while noting that the issue of security remains one of the priority areas that his administration had given utmost attention, said as a follow up to its promise to re-energise and reorganise the security apparatus and personnel of the armed forces and the police, his administration had invested heavily in re-equipping the military in line with upgrading the platforms and firepower required to tackle the current challenges being faced in the country.
The net results of these efforts, according to him, have been the number of insurgents and bandits who have willingly surrendered and continue to do so through various channels and the Safe Corridor created for that purpose.
The President said his government realised that victory on the battlefield was just one aspect of sustainable victory, “as to fully win this war, the government must also win the peace and real security lies in winning the hearts and minds of the affected citizens.”
To this end, he said his administration would be working with international partners and neighbouring countries, as well as deploy multi-faceted solutions that would be targeted at addressing human security at the grassroots, before it leads to insecurity.
Buhari lauded the courage and resilience of all Nigerians, which according to him, was evident in 2021 as the nation, like other countries of the world, faced significant challenges that occurred as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic and the efforts to restore the global economy and social order.
He expressed gratitude to the gallant military, police officers, and other security agents who had lost their lives in the cause of protecting the territorial integrity of the nation against both internal and external aggressors, assuring their families that their sacrifices would not be in vain.
Buhari equally remembered and commiserated with Nigerians who had lost loved ones as a result of insecurity in different parts of the country, noting that every life matters and every single death caused by any form of insecurity is a matter of personal concern to him both as a citizen and as the President.
On the economy, he said his administration had shown a high level of resilience to record some significant achievements despite the turbulence that has characterised the nation’s economy and the global economy.
Buhari stressed that the major wins recorded could be clearly seen in Nigeria’s most recent Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), with a 4.03% growth recorded in the third quarter of 2021, indicative of the recovery being recorded in the economy and the confidence that is being shown through the policies that his administration had put in place after the outbreak of the pandemic.
Buhari said, “We remain grateful to the Almighty God for yet another Year attained as a country, united by a common destiny and resolute in our determination to overcome the several challenges along the path to build the great and prosperous Nation of our dream.
“We have given the utmost priority to fighting corruption and other related offenses which have been a bane to the growth and prosperity of our dear nation. We have made major strides and breakthroughs through the innovative use of technology and forensics in the investigative and prosecutorial procedures with commendable results to show that the anti-corruption drive of our administration is succeeding.
“In the meantime, the accomplishments so far can be traced to the dedication of the nation’s anti-corruption agencies who have received the necessary support needed to effectively prosecute their duties. As we welcome 2022, let us, with hope, envision a year of continued progress against our combined challenges arising from security and socio-economic issues.
“As it is said, the past is but a story told, the future will still be written in gold. Let us be united in our fight to keep our nation united against all odds and with gratitude, celebrate life in this new epoch. I wish you a very happy and prosperous New Year.”
Deji Elumoye in Abuja.