IN spite of the upsurge in the number of
people killed and communities ravaged
by suspected Fulani herdsmen across the
country, President Muhammadu Buhari was
silent on the activities of the herdsmen in his
Democracy Day national broadcast yesterday.
No fewer than 525 were reported to have
been killed by the suspected nomadic cattle
herders since President Buhari assumed office
on May 29, 2015. These attacks climaxed with
the brutal massacres in Agatu in Benue state
and Ukpabi/Nimbo in Uzo-Uwani L.G.A,
In the much anticipated speech, the Nigerian leader said he will engage leaders in the
Niger-Delta in talks over the renewed
attacks on oil and power installations
by militants in the region but vowed to
bring the culprits and other economic
saboteurs to their knees.
He said; “On the Niger Delta, we are
committed to implementing the United
Nations Environment Programme report
and are advancing clean-up operations.
“I believe the way forward is to take
a sustainable approach to address the
issues that affect the delta communities.
Re-engineering the amnesty programmes
is an example of this. The recent spate of
attacks by militants disrupting oil and
power installations will not distract us from
engaging leaders in the region in addressing
Niger Delta problems,” President Buhari
He assured Nigerians that those involved
in vandalising installations will be
“If the militants and vandals are testing
our resolve, they are much mistaken. We
shall apprehend the perpetrators and their
sponsors and bring them to justice,” he said.
On the abducted Chibok school girls,
President Buhari expressed deep concern
about their plight and declared that his
government’s efforts to free the girls are
centered on negotiations.
“To the delight of all, two of the abducted
Chibok girls have regained their freedom.
During the last one year, not a single day
passed without my agonizing about these
girls. Our efforts have centred around
negotiations to free them safely from their
mindless, captors. We are still pursuing that
course. Their safety is of paramount concern
to me and I am sure to most Nigerians.
“I am very worried about the conditions
those still captured might be in. Today I
re-affirm our commitment to rescuing our
girls. We will never stop until we bring
them home safely. As I said before, no girl
should be put through the brutality of
forced marriage and every Nigerian girl has
the right to an education and a life choice.”
The Nigerian leader stressed that the
past one year has been one “of triumph,
consolidation, pains and achievements”
and stressed that his government has
delivered on security, corruption and
“We have delivered significant milestones
on security, corruption and the economy.
In respect of the economy, I would like to
directly address you on the very painful
but inevitable decisions we had to make in
the last few weeks specifically on the pump
price of fuel and the more flexible exchange
rate policy announced by the central bank.
“It is even more painful for me that a
major producer of crude oil with four
refineries that once exported refined
products is today having to import all of
its domestic needs. This is what corruption
and mismanagement has done to us and
that is why we must fight these ills.”
He blamed the worsening situation in the
country to the “decay” his administration
inherited last year and the falling price of
oil in the international market.
“We campaigned and won the election on
the platform of restoring security, tackling
corruption and restructuring the economy.
On our arrival, the oil price had collapsed
to as low as $30 per barrel and we found
nothing had been kept for the rainy day.
“Oil prices have been declining since
2014 but due to the neglect of the past,
the country was not equipped to halt the
economy from declining.
“The infrastructure, notably rail, power,
roads were in a decrepit state. All the four
refineries were in a state of disrepair, the
pipelines and depots neglected.
“Huge debts owed to contractors and
suppliers had accumulated. Twentyseven
states could not pay salaries for
months. In the north-east, Boko Haram
had captured 14 local governments, driven
the local authorities out, hoisted their
flags. Elsewhere, insecurity was palpable;
corruption and impunity were the order of
the day. In short, we inherited a state near
However, on the recovery of looted
funds, President Buhari did not disclose
how much the government has recovered
and from whom as earlier promised. He
said the ministry of information will make
public the amount recovered in due course.
“We are also engaged in making
recoveries of stolen assets some of which
are in different jurisdictions. The processes
of recovery can be tedious and time
consuming, but today I can confirm that
thus far: significant amount of assets have
been recovered. A considerable portion
of these are at different stages of recovery.
Full details of the status and categories
of the assets will now be published by
the ministry of information and updated
Meanwhile, May 29th celebration across
the country was low keyed despite promises
made by governments at different stages.
Reports from across the country indicate
that while there was low turnout for events
marking the celebration, in other states, the
day was not celebrated at all.
Democracy best solution to national
problems, says Saraki
In a related development, Senate
President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki
has commended Nigerians for working
to sustain democracy in the past 17 years
despite the various challenges the country
has encountered within the period.
In a statement to mark this year’s
Democracy Day, signed on his behalf by
his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity,
Yusuph Olaniyonu, Saraki described
democracy as not only the most globally
accepted system of government but also the
best solution to the problems confronting
a multi-cultural, multi-lingual and multireligious
society like Nigeria.
He said in the last 17 years, the electorate
has become more discerning and
sophisticated as the nation has got to the
point that people elected to the various
offices are now conscious of the fact that
they are under constant watch and when
they fail to meet the expectation of the
voters, they will be given the red card.
“It is the first time in our national history
that we will have 17 unbroken years of
democratically elected governments. Last
year, our people demonstrated that our
democracy is fast maturing as they voted
out a party in power and elected another
party. Since then, one can notice how people
have become more and more interested in
governance and the performance of those
elected and appointed into public offices.
“In my own view, these are signs that
our democracy has matured. Our people
deserve commendation for that. This
positive development is also already
reflecting in the quality of governance and
the level of development being witnessed
across board in the country”, he stated.
The Senate President further called on
elected and appointed officials at all levels
of government to continue to justify the
confidence people reposed in them as he
said he and his colleagues in the Senate are
conscious of the fact that if they fail to live
up to the expectation of the people, the next
elections are just around the corner.
He added that at this point, the nation
must improve on the conduct of elections
in such a manner that the free will of the
electorate will be reflected in the results,
adding that for the country to become
a mature democracy, elections must be
peaceful, free and fair.
“The issue of free and fair elections is a joint
responsibility for all of us. The Independent
National Electoral Commission (INEC)
must continue to improve on its process and
machinery for conduct of elections while
the people must learn to shun violence
and all forms of unlawful conduct during
electioneering. We cannot be celebrating
many years of democracy if people still take
elections as if it is war and refuse to accept
the decision of the majority.
“We in the National Assembly will
continue to strengthen the electoral laws
and other legislations that can build
institutional checks against the abuse of the
laws by individuals and groups. We must
get to the point where people who resort to
violence to achieve political objectives are
severely punished”, Saraki stated.
He added that Nigeria must become a
model in Africa for the enthronement of
rule of law and protection of fundamental
human rights of all individuals and that
the country must show good example to
other countries on the continent and in the
Commonwealth nations in that regard.
Saraki noted that in the area of the
economy, the entire world is facing
challenging times and that what the
country needs to overcome the situation
are discipline, prudent management of her
resources and and exploration of hitherto
neglected areas in creating national wealth.
“I can assure our people that the
present economic problem is a temporary
challenge. We will all be happy very soon. It
is for this reason that, as I congratulate our
people on this occasion of Democracy Day,
I call on them to continue to pray for the
government and support all efforts aimed
at ensuring that we all reap the dividends
of democracy. We should remember that
tough times do not last but tough people do.
God bless Nigeria. God bless Nigerians”,
IN spite of the upsurge in the number of