- To vet Nigeria’s Military needs
- Buhari asks Govs to submit cost of rebuilding Adamawa, Borno, Yobe
Moves by the Group of Seven (G-7) leaders to vet Nigeria’s military needs before assisting President Muhammadu Buhari to fight Boko Haram terrorists, has been described as an attempt to recolonise the country.
Buhari had yesterday hinted that his administration was working with the G-7 to end the Boko Haram menace in the North-East zone of the country.
The President said that in line with the requests of the G-7, he had compiled the needs of the Nigerian military for verification by the group’s leaders.
But the move has been criticised by some Nigerians who deemed it as a ploy to recolonise Nigeria since the military is very strategic to the country and any attempt to divulge vital information on the needs of the Armed Forces to foreign nations was inimical to the Federal Government.
The President also told the governors to their faces to stop executing projects which do not have immediate impact on their people but emphasised people-oriented programmes and policies.
The President disclosed this yesterday when he inaugurated the National Economic Council, NEC, at the Council Chambers of the State House, in Abuja.
He commended the past Council for shaping government’s economic activities.
He directed the governors of the frontline states in the Boko Haram crisis- Adamawa, Borno and Yobe-to articulate the cost of rebuilding the states for verification and necessary action.
He said: “I am also happy to reiterate that following my invitation to Germany early this month by the G-7 nations which have shown concern about the insurgency and promised to intervene to restore the destroyed infrastructure, schools and hospitals amongst others. I have directed the frontline states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa to articulate realistic assessments, costs and locations on local government by-local-government of the affected facilities for submission to the President of the G-7 for further verification. In addition, the requirements of the military have been prepared by the Service Chiefs for the consideration of the G-7 nations.”
The G-7 had refused to support former President Goodluck Jonathan in his efforts to crush the insurgents. His moves to buy weapons from the developed world were blocked which forced him to look elsewhere for support. His overture to South Africa led to failed arms deals which attracted harsh comments against the government from its critics, especially the All Progressives Congress, APC.
The President asserted that the Nigerian Armed Forces had shown renewed commitment and made steady progress in the fight against Boko Haram, adding that Nigeria, under the auspices of the Lake Chad Basin Commission and the Republic of Benin, is collaborating with the Republics of Niger, Chad, Cameroun and Benin to consolidate cross-border and international efforts at eradicating the insurgency.
To millions of workers across the country who have continued to groan over the non-payment of salaries by their state governments, President Buhari told the affected governors to pay their employees and save them from further hardships.
While charging the governors to emphasise the principles of transparency and accountability in financial management, the President urged neighbouring states to cooperate in areas of common interest like feeder roads, inter-state roads, soil erosion, desertification, among others.
The Council, which is mandated to advise the President on measures needed for the coordination of the economic planning and programmes of the various governments of the federation, is a constitutional body chaired by the Vice President which has all the 36 state governors, the FCT Minister and Central Bank of Nigeria governor as members.
Buhari said: “I am pleased to note that the Council meetings have, over the years, been very constructive and productive, and the key outcomes as well as recommendations translated into government policies at the federal and state levels. This has not only facilitated national economic planning, but also lead to overall political harmony. It is also reassuring to note that steps have been taken in the past to strengthen the effectiveness of the Council in its role as prime adviser on developments in the economy. This process must be geared up substantially especially in the difficult times that we have now found ourselves. The National Planning Commission must continue to work to arrive at workable consensus on government policies among the various tiers of government, which is a prerequisite for sustained growth and development.
“Your Excellencies, it is evident that the task of ensuring growth, job creation and equity, is quite enormous. Consequently, we must k start this process by cultivating a culture of prudent management of resources at all levels of government. This will entail looking inwards to securing sustainable ways of increasing Internally Generated Revenue, IGR; and harnessing growth potential of each state to supplement the Federation Account allocation to states. The states are also encouraged to embark on projects that will meet immediate needs of the people taking account of available resources. I therefore urge Council members to consider, as a matter of urgency, exploring efficient means of gradually liquidating all unpaid salaries of staff, which have brought untold hardship to thousands of families.
“I would like also, as a former Governor myself to remind us the need for neighbouring states to cooperate closely on projects such as interstate and feeder roads, soil erosion, desertification and other developmental programmes. Our country is one and we who have the responsibility to run it lead by example. As far as is possible there should be distance between politics and development programmes, “the President said.
President Buhari reminded the governors of the focus of his administration, which he spoke about extensively on the day of his inauguration.
“You may recall, that in my inaugural speech, on May 29, 2015 I stated that the primary objective of this Administration is to tackle insecurity; youth unemployment, through the revival of agriculture, solid minerals mining, as well as small and medium size businesses.
“I also highlighted pervasive corruption; fuel and power shortages; public service reforms; and the need to allow every tier of Government to exercise its constitutional responsibilities, among others.
“We are fully committed to embarking on sustainable visionary initiatives and programmes that will restructure and transform our national economy. We are also committed to ensuring collaboration and facilitation of the International efforts to combat threats of cross-border terrorism, sea piracy, refugees, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), financial crimes, cyber crimes, climate change; the spread of communicable diseases and other challenges of the 21st century.
“I urge you all to ensure that we surmount these enormous challenges facing us as a country by working to support economic policies, which the government will soon unveil to grow our economy and finance our external promises,” Buhari said.
The President said henceforth, all Federal Government agencies would be made to comply with financial regulations in their remittances to the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
The President said: “On its part the Federal Government will abide by the provisions of Sections 80 and 162 of the Constitution and ensure more accountability, transparency and integrity in the distribution of the Federation Account. All revenue generating agencies such as the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Nigeria Customs Services, NCS, Federal Inland Revenue Services, FIRS, Nigeria Ports Authority, NPA, Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA and Liquefied Natural Gas, LNG amongst others shall comply with stipulated Financial Regulations and Administrative Instructions in their remittances into the Consolidated Revenue Fund.”