‘We Just Have To Take Loans’, Buhari Justifies Borrowing To Fund Infrastructure

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday justified government borrowing to finance infrastructure, asserting that his government took loans in the interest of the country to solve the dire shortfall in infrastructure.

Speaking at a virtual meeting with members of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC) at the State House, in Abuja, President Buhari said the country must fix its roads to save lives from soaring road accidents.

“We have so many challenges with infrastructure. We just have to take loans to do roads, rail and power, so that investors will find us attractive and come here to put their money,” the President said after listening to a presentation by PEAC chaired by Professor Ayo Salami.

He regretted that the failure to provide the infrastructure for effective transportation deprived the country of its well-deserved status as the West African hub for Air cargo transportation and trans-shipment of goods.

On the issue of the economy, President Buhari noted the challenges posed by the “collapse of the oil market” and the decision of government to abide by the reduced oil production quota allocated by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

“We have to accept that decision; otherwise they (Middle-East producers) can flood the market and make the product unviable. So we have cooperated with what we get. With oil, we are in a difficult situation. The politics of oil is that the less you produce, the less you earn,” he said.

President Buhari also stressed the position of agriculture in the government’s scheme to reduce joblessness and poverty.

“For us to bounce back to productivity, especially in agriculture, the unemployed with many of them uneducated had to be persuaded to go into agriculture.

“If we hadn’t gone back to the lands we would have been in trouble by now. That is why we virtually stopped the importation of food thereby saving jobs and foreign exchange.”

The President also broached the issue of COVID-19 pandemic and how it necessitated the recent government policies as they relate to energy (electricity) and fuel.

He said the Federal government took such decisions because it places the country above politics.

“COVID has reduced us to the same level as developed countries.

“We are lucky we went back to the land. We eat what we produce. We are doing our best to secure the country and provide infrastructure for investment to be viable in the country,” he said.

Commending the Chairman and the members of the council for their patriotism and service to the nation, President Buhari pledged to continue to draw from their wisdom, knowledge and experiences as the nation deals with challenging economic times.

Earlier, Prof Salami had in his presentation highlighted the Council’s recommendations on poverty reduction and stimulation of non-debt investment inflows, as promised at their last meeting.

The council recommended steps for the effective implementation of government’s plan to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty, as well as measures to curb poverty disparity in Nigeria.

The council promised to set out a full policy paper that would, in the first instance, stop more Nigerians from falling into poverty and thereafter, further plans on reducing the poverty headcount in the country.

The PEAC also outlined a number of measures aimed at aggressively increasing the country’s non-debt investment inflow, including measures to improve investor perception of the country and the proposed establishment of a 5 billion – 10 billion dollars investment and growth fund to invest in.

The PEAC used the opportunity of the meeting to express support and solidarity with the administration on its recent policies.

It listed the implementation of reforms encapsulated in the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) 2020 recently signed into law, the reforms in the energy sector, bringing electricity and fuel prices in line with the market, and the decision of the Central Bank of Nigeria to merge the exchange rate of the naira versus other foreign currencies.

Nigeria More Divided Than Ever Before, Soyinka Backs Obasanjo

Professor Wole Soyinka (File Photo)

 

 

Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka, says Nigeria is more divided than ever before under the Muhammadu Buhari administration.

He said this on Tuesday in a statement titled “Between ‘Dividers-in-chief’ and Dividers-in-law,”.

“The nation is divided as never before, and this ripping division has taken place under the policies and conduct of none other than President Buhari,” he said.

Speaking further, Mr Soyinka accused the President of going to sleep while communities were ravaged by cattle rustlers and thousands were displaced.

According to him, even when the President visited the scenes, rather than proffer an authoritative solution, he “advised the traumatised victims to learn to live peacefully with their violators”.

“And what happened to the Police Chief who had defied orders from his Commander-in-Chief to relocate fully to the trouble spot – he came, saw, and bolted, leaving the ‘natives’ to their own devices. Any disciplinary action taken against ‘countryman’? Was it a spokesman for some ghost president who chortled in those early, yet controllable stages of now systematised mayhem, gleefully dismissed the mass burial of victims in Benue State as a “staged show” for international entertainment? Did the other half of the presidential megaphone system not follow up – or was it, proceed? – with the wisdom that they, the brutalised citizenry, should learn to bow under the yoke and negotiate, since “only the living” can enjoy the dividends of legal rights?”.

His comments come just days after former President Olusegun Obasanjo made similar comments about the state of the country.

Read Also: Obasanjo Says Nigeria Is Falling Apart Under Buhari, Offers Solution

Obasanjo said the country is failing and badly divided due to the recent mismanagement.

He made the comment in Abuja on Thursday while delivering a speech titled ‘Moving Nigeria Away from Tipping Over’ at a consultative dialogue attended by various socio-cultural groups.

The consultative dialogue was attended by members of various groups, including Afenifere, Middle Belt Forum, Northern Elders Forum, Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo and Pan Niger Delta Forum.

“I do appreciate that you all feel sad and embarrassed as most of us feel as Nigerians with the situation we find ourselves in,” Obasanjo said.

“Today, Nigeria is fast drifting to a failed and badly divided state; economically our country is becoming a basket case and poverty capital of the world, and socially, we are firming up as an unwholesome and insecure country.

“And these manifestations are the products of recent mismanagement of diversity and socio-economic development of our country. Old fault lines that were disappearing have opened up in greater fissures and with drums of hatred, disintegration and separation and accompanying choruses being heard loud and clear almost everywhere.”

Soyinka also noted that while he was not a fan of Obasanjo, he would not hesitate to agree with “any accurate reading of this nation from whatever source”.

He said, “I am notoriously no fan of Olusegun Obasanjo, General, twice former president and co-architect with other past leaders of the crumbling edifice that is still generously called Nigeria. I have no reasons to change my stance on his record. Nonetheless, I embrace the responsibility of calling attention to any accurate reading of this nation from whatever source, as a contraption teetering on the very edge of total collapse. We are close to extinction as a viable comity of peoples, supposedly bound together under an equitable set of protocols of co-habitation, capable of producing its own means of existence, and devoid of a culture of sectarian privilege and will to dominate.”

Obasanjo Says Nigeria Is Falling Apart Under Buhari, Offers Solution

Obasanjo Calls For Stronger Opposition In Nigeria
A file photo of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

 

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said the Nigerian state is failing and badly divided due to the recent mismanagement of the country.

Obasanjo made the comment in Abuja on Thursday while delivering a speech titled ‘Moving Nigeria Away from Tipping Over’ at a consultative dialogue attended by various socio-cultural groups, according to a report by Punch Newspaper.

The consultative dialogue was attended by members of various groups, including Afenifere, Middle Belt Forum, Northern Elders Forum, Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo and Pan Niger Delta Forum.

READ ALSO: Nigerian Elites Should Judge Us Fairly – Buhari

“I do appreciate that you all feel sad and embarrassed as most of us feel as Nigerians with the situation we find ourselves in,” Obasanjo said. “Today, Nigeria is fast drifting to a failed and badly divided state; economically our country is becoming a basket case and poverty capital of the world, and socially, we are firming up as an unwholesome and insecure country.

“And these manifestations are the products of recent mismanagement of diversity and socio-economic development of our country. Old fault lines that were disappearing have opened up in greater fissures and with drums of hatred, disintegration and separation and accompanying choruses being heard loud and clear almost everywhere.”

According to the Punch Newspaper report, Obasanjo said those calling for the country’s breakup must remember that, in the event of a split, citizens would still be neighbours and need to conduct relations among one another.

He said unity is important to solve the problems bedevilling the nation and commended the consultative forum idea.

“With what I have seen, read and heard from the rapprochement that you are forging together, I see a ray of hope that Nigeria can be saved from disintegration,” he said.

“If we are ready to live together in understanding, mutual respect and love with equity, justice, inclusiveness while engendering sense of belonging and unity of purpose and all hands on deck, we can deal with internal issues of terrorism, organised crimes, banditry, kidnapping, human trafficking, drug, money laundering and corruption. We will then be able to deal successfully with any incoming attack of terrorism, organised crimes, etc; from outside.”

Nigerian Elites Should Judge Us Fairly – Buhari

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday said Nigerian elites should judge his administration with fairness.

The President was speaking at the closing of the first-year ministerial performance review retreat held in Abuja.

“I want the Nigerian elites, please encourage them, to judge us fairly,” Buhari said, arguing that his administration has done more for the country with less resources.

He said the average production of oil in the country, from 1999 to 2014, was 2.1 million barrels per day sold at an average price of $100.

“When we came, it collapsed to $37, $38 per barrel, you know it. And the militants were unleashed on the administration, and the production went down to half a million barrels per day.

“I want you to please reflect, what was the condition of the infrastructure then, in spite of those earnings. The roads, the rail is dead and there was no power, up till now no power; where does the money go?”

The President said he was “doing my best” to fight corruption by “trying to follow the system” in contrast to his brief military regime in 1984 when he arbitrarily rounded up politicians, threw them in jail, and required them to prove their innocence.

Now “I’m being called ‘baba go slow’,” he said.

‘Irresponsible Leaders’

The President also addressed the long-running conflict between cattle rearers and farmers, blaming past leaders who encroached cattle routes.

The President said when he met with the President of the United States, he was asked ‘why are you killing Christians?’

Buhari said he tried to explain that the conflict had nothing to do with ethnicity or religion but a failure of leadership.

“The First Republic leadership is the most irresponsible set of leadership we’ve ever had,” he said.

“I asked the Minister of Agriculture to get a gazette of the early sixties, which delineated the cattle routes, the grazing areas.

“So any cattle rearer that allows his cattle to go to somebody’s farm is arrested, taken before a court. The farmer is called to submit his bill. And if the cattle rearer cannot pay, his cattle are sold.

“But subsequent leaders encroached on the cattle routes, took over the cattle areas.”

Electricity Tariff Hike: Review Is A Painful Adjustment, Says Buhari

A file photo of a transformer.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari says the decision to adjust the electricity tariff is one that is regretted by the Federal Government.

He is, however, relieved that the tariff review is not about the increase – which will only affect the top electricity consumers – but establishing a system that will definitely lead to improved service for all at a fair and reasonable price.

The President made the remarks on Monday in Abuja at the first-year Ministerial Performance Review Retreat where he was represented by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.

 

Earlier, he reacted to the increase in the price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also known as petrol, which most marketers sell at a minimum of N160 per litre.

“The other painful adjustment that we have had to make in recent days is a review of the electricity tariff regime.

“If there is one thing that we have heard over and over again, it is that Nigerians want consistent and reliable power supply. So, the power sector remains a critical priority for the administration,” President Buhari said.

He stressed that the protection of the poor and vulnerable while ensuring improved service in the power sector, was also a major priority for the government.

A file photo of an attendant filling the fuel tank of a car.

 

Timing Of Petrol, Electricity Tariff Increase

President Buhari added that the policies of his administration such as the Social Investment Programmes (SIPs) and other socio-economic schemes have shown that they remained focused on improving the welfare of the common man.

“There have been some concerns expressed about the timing of these two necessary adjustments.

“It is important to stress that it is a mere coincidence in the sense that the deregulation of PMS prices happened quite some time ago, it was announced on 18 March 2020 and the price moderation that took place at the beginning of this month was just part of the on-going monthly adjustments to global crude oil prices.

“Similarly, the review of service-based electricity tariffs was scheduled to start at the beginning of July but was put on hold to enable further studies and proper arrangements to be made,” he explained.

According to the President, the implementation of a ‘Willing Buyer, Willing Seller Policy’ for the power sector has opened up opportunities for increased delivery of electricity to homes and industries.

He revealed that the government was also executing some critical projects through the Transmission Rehabilitation and Expansion Programme, which would result in the transmission and distribution of a total of 11,000 Megawatts by 2023.

Five Million Households To Get Solar Home Systems In One Year – FG

A photo of assembled solar panels.

 

The Federal Government has concluded plans to provide solar home systems to no fewer than five million households in the next one year.

President Muhammadu Buhari disclosed this on Monday at the first-year Ministerial Performance Review Retreat held at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

The President, who was represented at the event by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, said, “In addressing the power problems, we must not forget that most Nigerians are not even connected to electricity at all.”

“So, as part of the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP), we are providing solar home systems to five million Nigerian households (impacting up to 25 million individual Nigerians) in the next 12 months,” he added.

A Path To Full Electrification

According to the President, the government has already begun the process of providing financing support for manufacturers and retailers of Off-Grid Solar Home Systems and Mini-Grids, who are to provide the systems, through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

He believes the five million systems under the ESP’s Solar Power Strategy will produce 250,000 jobs and impact up to 25 million beneficiaries through the installation.

A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari.

 

President Buhari explained that this would translate into more Nigerians having access to electricity via a reliable and sustainable solar system.

He stated that the support to solar home system manufacturers and the bulk procurement of local meters would create over 300,000 local jobs while setting Nigeria on a path to full electrification.

“We are also executing some critical projects through the Transmission Rehabilitation and Expansion Programme, which will result in the transmission and distribution of a total of 11,000 Megawatts by 2023,” the President said.

He noted that the government has developed N2.3 trillion ESP (which consists of fiscal, monetary, and sectoral measures to enhance local production, support businesses, retain and create jobs, and provide succour to Nigerians, especially the most vulnerable) as part of its response to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Petrol Price Increase: Why Nigeria Cannot Afford Fuel Subsidy – Buhari

A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has reacted to the increase in the price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also known as petrol, by oil marketers in the country.

He explained why the country has found itself in such a situation, as well as why the Federal Government cannot afford to pay fuel subsidy at this time.

The President gave the explanation on Monday at the first-year Ministerial Performance Review Retreat which held at the Conference Centre of the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

“There are several negative consequences if the government should resume the business of fixing or subsidising PMS prices. First of all, it would mean a return to the costly subsidy regime,” said President Buhari who was represented at the event by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.

He added, “Today, we have 60 per cent less revenues; we just cannot afford the cost. The second danger is the potential return of fuel queues – which has, thankfully, become a thing of the past under this administration.

“Nigerians no longer have to endure long queues just to buy petrol, often at highly inflated prices.

“Also, as I hinted earlier, there is no provision for fuel subsidy in the revised 2020 budget, simply because we are not able to afford it, if reasonable provisions must be made for health, education and other social services. We now have no choice.”

The President’s explanation comes against the backdrop of the outrage triggered by the increase in the pump price of petrol – one which was widely condemned by various individuals and groups in the country.

While the Pipelines and Product Marketing Company (PPMC) reviewed the ex-depot price of petrol from N138.62 to N151.56 per litre in September, a majority of oil marketers were selling above N160 per litre.

A fuel station in Lagos sells petrol at N162 per litre.

The Long-Term Gains

For President Buhari, the COVID-19 pandemic, which has affected economies globally, has compelled the government to make some adjustments which he described as far-reaching.

Although he admitted that such reviews would cause some initial pain for the people, he insisted that they were necessary for the long-term gains.

“As you all know, when oil prices collapsed at the height of the global lockdown, we deregulated the price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) such that the benefit of lower prices was passed to consumers.

“This was welcome by all and sundry. The effect of regulation though is that PMS prices will change with changes in global oil prices. This means, quite regrettably, that as oil prices recover, we would see some increases in PMS prices,” he stated.

A file photo of an attendant filling the fuel tank of a car.

 

The President, however, gave an assurance that the government would remain alert to its responsibilities.

According to him, the role of the government now is to prevent marketers from raising prices arbitrarily or exploiting citizens.

President Buhari stressed that this was why the PPRA made the announcement last week to set the range of price that must not be exceeded by marketers.

“The advantage we now have is that anyone can bring in petroleum products and compete with marketers, that way the price of petrol will keep coming down,” he said.

Amid COVID-19, Nigeria’s Revenues Have Fallen By Almost 60 Percent – Buhari

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday said the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in trying times, not just for the Nigerian people, but also for the government.

The President said the country’s revenues and foreign exchange earnings have fallen by almost 60 percent since the pandemic took hold.

Buhari’s remarks were delivered by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the start of the first-year Ministerial performance review retreat holding in Abuja.

“For the government, it has been a particularly trying time,” Buhari said. “As a result of the poor fortunes of the oil sector, our revenues and foreign exchange earnings have fallen drastically. Our revenues have fallen by almost 60 percent.

READ ALSO: Labour Leaders Have Gone Underground In Rivers State – NUPENG

“Yet we have had to sustain expenditures, especially on salaries and capital projects, in order to keep the economy going.”

The pandemic forced many economies across the world to shut down, drastically reducing the demand for crude oil, Nigeria’s main export foreign exchange earner.

The President said his administration adopted a N2.3 trillion economic sustainability plan to mitigate the effect of the economic slowdown.

The plan, which consists of fiscal, monetary, and sectoral measures, is expected “to enhance local production, support businesses, retain and create jobs and provide succor to Nigerians, especially the most vulnerable.”

“But we have also had to take some difficult decisions to stop unsustainable practices that were weighing the economy down,” he said.

‘Government Not Insensitive’

President Buhari’s speech on Monday was delivered amid concerns raised by several groups in the country over increases in the price of fuel and electricity tariffs in the country.

“This government is not insensitive to the condition of our people and the very difficult economic situation and we will not inflict hardship on our people,” the President said.

He directed Ministers and senior administration officials to swiftly implement the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) to give succor to Nigerians.

“In this regard, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has created credit facilities (of up to N100B) for the Healthcare (N100 Billion) and Manufacturing (N1 Trillion) sectors,” Buhari said.

“From January 2020 to date, over N191.87B has already been disbursed for 76 real sectors projects under the N1Trillion Real Sector Scheme; while 34 Healthcare projects have been funded to the tune of N37.159B under the Healthcare Sector Intervention Facility.

“The facilities are meant to address some of the infrastructural gap in the healthcare and manufacturing sector as a fall out to the COVID-19 pandemic and to facilitate the attainment of the Governors 5-year strategic plan.”

 

 

Ondo Election: Buhari Endorses Akeredolu, Says APC Will Win Fairly

President Muhammadu Buhari endorses Governor Rotimi Akeredolu as the APC candidate in the Ondo State governorship election in Abuja on September 4, 2020.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has endorsed Governor Rotimi Akeredolu as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the forthcoming governorship election in Ondo State.

He gave his approval on Friday when he met with the governor who visited him at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

While the meeting was ongoing, President Buhari presented the APC flag to Governor Akeredolu, as a sign of his endorsement.

He urged members of the ruling party to work diligently and ensure fairness in electoral processes, in their bid to return the APC’s governorship candidate for a second term in office.

The President noted that the reconciliation process in the state branch of the party had provided a solid ground for an easier clear victory for the candidate than he achieved in his first term.

He assured Governor Akeredolu of the party’s full support but stressed that a peaceful and fair election that reflects the will of the people must be uppermost.

L-R: Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Governor Mai Mala Buni, President Muhammadu Buhari, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, and Governor Simon Lalong at the State House in Abuja on September 4, 2020.

 

President Buhari also urged party supporters not to get carried away with the election at a time when the country was fighting COVID-19 and adhere to the regulations of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and protocols of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

He described the party’s mechanism for resolving differences among aggrieved members as most effective.

The President also stated that the mechanism would be sustained to strengthen relationships and project the objectives of the APC as people-focused and development-oriented.

Governor Akeredolu was presented to the President by the Caretaker Committee Chairman of the APC, Mai Mala Buni, who is also the governor of Yobe State.

The meeting also had in attendance Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and his Plateau State counterpart, Governor Simon Lalong, who respectively serve as the chairman and deputy chairman of the party’s National Campaign Council for the Ondo State Governorship Election.

INEC had fixed October 10 to conduct the governorship election across the wards in all local government areas of the state.

Buhari Assures Jigawa Flood Victims Of Federal Support

A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari.
A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday assured families impacted by flooding in several communities in Jigawa state of timely support from the Federal Government.

In a statement signed by spokesman Garba Shehu, the President directed the National Emergency Management Agency and other relevant government agencies to “urgently assess the situation in the affected areas with a view to providing the needed humanitarian supplies.”

The President also commended the prompt response of the Jigawa State government to the disaster.

“The President would continue to follow very closely reports of flood situation across the country, and ensure that relevant Federal agencies are well prepared to respond to such disasters and mitigate associated risks,” Shehu’s statement said.

Channels Television reported on Wednesday that the death toll from the flood has risen to 18.

A flooded community in Jigawa State.

 

“We now have a total of 18 people that died as a result of the heavy downpour. Many homes are no longer habitable and also farmlands are destroyed,” the Executive Secretary of the state Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Mr Sani Yusuf, said at the time.

“As a matter of urgency, we are providing the victims with food, medicine, and a temporary shelter.

“In places where they are not accessible because of too much water, we give them canoes so that they can have access to the outside world.”

The affected areas include Buji, Taura, Jahun, Babura, Ringim, Dutse, Birnin Kudu, Miga, Kafin-Hausa, Auyo, Gwaram, Malam-Madori, Birniwa and Kaugama Local Government Areas.

Security: We Will Continue To Monitor Terrorists’ Activities Online, Says Buhari

A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari.
A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari.

 

The Federal Government will continue to monitor the activities of terrorists online to control radicalisation of Nigerians by terrorist groups and other violent cells, the President has said.

President Muhammadu Buhari explained that this was important following the huge traffic online and growing constraints on physical contacts and movements due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

He made the remarks on Wednesday in Abuja, while participating at the AQABA Process virtual meeting in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

“It is important to state that the spread of COVID-19 has led to the movement of activities to cyberspace,” the President was quoted as saying in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina.

He added, “Furthermore, lockdown policies and restrictions of movement in affected areas means that people would move their day to day social and business activities to cyberspace.

“This, however, comes with an increase in the risk of individuals being radicalised online.”

 

Sustaining Human Security

President Buhari said the Federal Government would sustain efforts to make adjustments to new lifestyles and be sensitive to the security underpinnings, as experts try to find vaccines for COVID-19 and a possible acceptable cure.

He noted that Nigeria developed a robust framework led by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 to coordinate and oversee the country’s multi-sectoral inter-governmental efforts at containing the spread and mitigating the impact of the pandemic.

“This was done while currently monitoring the effects of the measures and taking steps to mitigate these effects as quickly as possible. This was in a bid to ensure sustained human security across the population.

“Earlier, we had established the National Humanitarian Coordination Committee with the responsibility of providing among others, a national vision for humanitarian actors and settling disputes that may arise from interactions between security services and the humanitarian community.

“This committee was timely as a stop-gap measure in coping with the effects of COVID-19,” the President told the meeting.

 

An Economic Crisis

He disclosed that the government had also taken measures to tackle the devastation of social and economic dimensions of the pandemic, with a focus on the most vulnerable citizens in the society through the provision of palliatives and other economic stimulus packages.

President Buhari explained that the measures came at a cost, but would be sustained while citing Mali as an example where social and economic challenges took a toll on the government and pushed democracy to a “breaking point.”

“Such a situation could create a vacuum that can be exploited by terrorists and violent extremists,” he said.

The President also informed the gathering of Heads of Governments at the meeting that the security landscape in Nigeria and across West Africa has continued to evolve with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, noting that various systems in society came grinding to a halt as a result of the urgent measures taken to slow down the spread of the disease.

According to him, the measures were taken while being mindful of the toll that the virus has had in the various epicentres across the world where medical structures were strained up to breaking point while dealing with mass casualties as a result of infections from the disease.

“These measures are not without their challenges as livelihood were drastically affected and civic lifestyle is being tested to its limits.

“The whole instruments of government are now mobilised to confront what has now turned both a health emergency and an economic crisis,” President Buhari said.

Kebbi Flood: Buhari Laments Loss Of Lives, Over N1bn By Rice Farmers

Buhari Condemns Gombe Killings, Condoles With Victims' Families
A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari is concerned over the flood that claimed a number of lives in Kebbi State, north-west Nigeria.

The President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, disclosed his principal’s worry in a statement on Wednesday.

According to the statement, the flood also submerged thousands of hectares of farmlands and houses, as well as destroyed farm produce and personal belongings in the affected communities.

“With the loss of six lives and still counting, thousands of hectares of land flooded and estimated economic losses of more than one billion naira by rice farmers in Kebbi State, we face a major setback in our efforts to boost local food production,” the President lamented.

He added, “I am particularly sad over this incident because it’s a setback to our efforts to boost local rice production as part of measures to stop food importation.”

A map of Kebbi, a state in north-west Nigeria.

 

President Buhari described Kebbi as the focal point of the Federal Government’s policy to produce rice locally.

He explained that this was part of his administration’s commitment to agricultural revival which he said suffered relative neglect in favour of food importation.

“This bad news couldn’t have come at a worse time for our farmers and other Nigerians who looked forward to a bumper harvest this year in order to reduce the current astronomical rise in the costs of food items in the markets,” the President noted.

He sympathised with those who lost their loved ones to the incident and the farmers affected by the devastating floods.

President Buhari assured them that the Federal Government would work closely with the Kebbi State government in order to bring relief to the victims.