NIGERIA AT 61: Workers Kick As President Buhari Scores Administration High. FULL MESSAGES.

President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari delivers independence Day broadcast find full speech.

Also find Full Messages of Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress

INDEPENDENCE DAY ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, MUHAMMADU BUHARI, PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA ON THE OCCASION OF NIGERIA’S SIXTY FIRST INDEPENDENCE ANNIVERSARY, FRIDAY 1ST OCTOBER, 2021.

Citizens of Nigeria.

It is with full gratitude to God that today, we celebrate Nigeria’s sixty first Independence Anniversary.

2.​For 1st of October 1960 to happen, all hands were on deck. East, West, North all came together to celebrate freedom. Today should not only serve as a reminder of the day the British handed over the reins of power to Nigerians, but also unified Nigerians from all ethnic groups, religions and regions.

3.​Today, despite the challenges we face, most Nigerians still maintain the spirit of 1st October. That positive outlook and determination to make Nigeria a peaceful and prosperous nation. It is due to this collective attitude that Nigeria doggedly continues to remain a united and indivisible nation.

4.​Fellow Nigerians, the past eighteen months have been some of the most difficult periods in the history of Nigeria. Since the civil war, I doubt whether we have seen a period of more heightened challenges than what we have witnessed in this period.

5.​Our original priorities for 2020 were to continue stabilising our economy following the deep recession while restoring peace in areas confronted with security challenges. But the COVID-19 pandemic and its devastating impact on all nations meant we needed to shift gears and re-strategise.

6.​Nigerians came together as one to fight against COVID-19. It is this attitude and by the special grace of God, we continue to survive the pandemic as a nation and indeed, provide leadership and example at regional and international levels.

7.​The doomsday scenario predicted for our country never came. Even as the Delta variant continues to spread, we have built the capacity we need to respond now and into the future.

8.​I will therefore appeal to Nigerians not to take COVID lightly, adhere to public health and social measures, put your mask on and get vaccinated. We can control this pandemic, but it requires effort on everybody’s part. The investments we made in response to COVID-19 will also serve our country to tackle any future disease outbreaks or pandemics.

9.​Despite the global inequity in access to vaccines, the Government of Nigeria has continued to explore all available options to ensure Nigerians have free access to safe and effective vaccines.

10.​Some five million vaccine doses have been administered to Nigerians through efforts led by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency and we will continue to explore options for purchase or acquisition of vaccines such as through COVAX and the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust.

11.​I will take this opportunity to remind the global community that the current state of access to COVID-19 vaccines is unacceptable. We cannot afford a situation where a handful of countries keep the global vaccine supply to themselves at the expense of other nations.

12.​We must act now to accelerate equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. This is the message I conveyed to the international community in New York last week.

13.​As we push to source vaccines for our immediate needs, we shall invest more to support our pharmaceutical and research agencies to come up with ideas for locally developed vaccines. Should another pandemic arise in the future, Our question is simple; will Nigeria be ready?

14.​Accordingly, I have directed the Ministries of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Health, Education and Science and Technology to work with Nigerian and International pharmaceutical companies and research organisations to enhance Nigeria’s domestic pharmaceutical capacity.

15.​Already, the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority is raising a $200 million fund for this initiative that will complement the Central Bank of Nigeria’s ongoing N85 billion Healthcare Sector Research and Development Intervention Scheme to support local researchers in the development of vaccines and drugs to combat communicable and non-communicable diseases, including COVID-19.

Fellow Nigerians, this is just the beginning.
16.​Similarly, on our approach to food security, I am proud to announce Nigeria has commenced its journey to pharmaceutical independence.
17.​This journey, which will take years to achieve but will ultimately result in Nigerian based companies developing the Active Pharmaceutical substances and competence needed for us to make our own drugs and vaccines.

Fellow Nigerians,

18.​As our economy continues to open after the COVID-19 related lockdowns, we have also seen the resurgence of insecurity in certain parts of the country.

19.​In the last four months, the gallant men and women of the Military and Security Agencies have made tremendous progress in addressing these new security challenges. We are taking the fight to our enemies from all angles and we are winning.

20.​Earlier this year, I launched the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, the Deep Blue Project, which is designed to secure Nigerian waters up to the Gulf of Guinea. I am happy to inform Nigerians that we have taken delivery of key assets for this project and very soon, its impact will be felt.

21.​In the North East region alone, over eight thousand Boko Haram terrorists have surrendered.

22.​To support our surge approach to fighting banditry, the Nigerian Armed Forces have recruited over 17,000 personnel across all ranks. Furthermore, I have also approved for the Nigerian Police Force to recruit 10,000 police officers annually over the next six years.

23.​I am also pleased to note that most of the Air Force platforms we acquired over the past three years have started to arrive in Nigeria. These will positively impact our security operations in all parts of the country.

24.​In line with section 14(2)(b) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the security and welfare of Nigerians continue to be the prime focus on which programmes and projects of our government revolves.

25.​Therefore, as a Government, we are ready to arrest and prosecute all persons inciting violence through words or action. Our resolve for a peaceful, united and one Nigeria remains resolute and unwavering.

26.​That said, our hope is not to fight for peace. We can always settle our grievances peacefully without spilling any blood.

27.​I will therefore take this opportunity, on this special day that symbolises the unity and oneness of our great nation, to ask all Nigerians to embrace peace and dialogue, whatever your grievances.

28.​The seeds of violence are planted in people’s heads through words. Reckless utterances of a few have led to losses of many innocent lives and destruction of properties.

29.​Such unfiltered and unsubstantiated lies and hate speeches by a few evil persons must be stopped. Our media houses and commentators must move away from just reporting irresponsible remarks to investigating the truth behind all statements and presenting the facts to readers.

30.​We must all come out and speak against the lies being peddled. At this point, I would want to sincerely appreciate the large number of our Traditional, Religious and Community leaders as well as other well-meaning Nigerians who, in their various fora are openly spreading the message of peaceful co-existence and conflict settlement through dialogue in their respective communities.

31.​Nigeria is for all of us. Its unity is not negotiable. And its ultimate success can only be achieved if we all come together with a common goal of having peace and prosperity for our nation.

32.We shall continue to work on dialogue based solutions to address legitimate grievances. But we remain ready to take decisive actions against secessionist agitators and their sponsors who threaten our national security.

33.​The recent arrests of Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Adeyemo, and the ongoing investigations being conducted have revealed certain high-profile financiers behind these individuals. We are vigorously pursuing these financiers including one identified as a serving member of the national assembly.

Fellow Nigerians,
34.​This is a clear example of how people abandon their national leadership positions for their selfish gains. Instead of preaching unity, they are funding and misleading our youth to conduct criminal acts that sometimes lead to unfortunate and unnecessary loss of lives and property.

35.​As the so-called leaders run abroad to hide, our innocent youths are misled and left in the streets to fight for their senseless and destructive causes.

36.​Government will continue, with greater level of peoples’ participation and in collaboration with our international partners, to improve the security architecture, reduce enabling environment for criminality to thrive and eliminate opportunities for terrorism financing.

37.​Fellow Nigerians, our unrelenting effort at resolving an almost two-decade stalling on the management of our Petroleum resources and ensuring equitable consideration to our host communities has resulted in the enactment of the Petroleum Industry Act, 2021.

38.​This Act not only overhauls the Institutional, regulatory and fiscal framework of the Petroleum Industry but also reduces the previous opacity associated with this sector.

39.​This is the first step to the reforms as the process is a continuous one. Already, to further improve the governance framework, I have sought for an amendment of sections 11(2)(b) and 34(2)(b). We will also continue to review and amend as appropriate.

40.​At this juncture, it is very appropriate that I salute the leadership and members of the Ninth Assembly for their patriotism, dedication to duty, candour and most importantly the dispatch with which they have enacted legacy legislations for this nation. I do not take such level of cooperation for granted and hope it continues for the overall efficiency of the Federal machinery.

41.​Nigeria’s Roadmap on Local Refining is on track with the Commissioning of a Modular refinery in Imo State.

42.​A second is scheduled for commissioning by the end of this year in Edo State and the third one in Bayelsa State by 2022.

43.​In addition to the modular projects, we also have the two mega refinery projects coming up in Lagos and Akwa Ibom States.

44.​As these refineries are commissioned, more employment opportunities are created and there would be increased petroleum products available for local consumption which will significantly reduce our reliance on importation.

45.​In further demonstrating our plan to reduce our dependence on oil and tapping from our enormous gas resources, this administration remains committed to the “Decade of Gas” Initiative, which is aimed at bringing to focus the utilization of our huge gas resources.

46.​Already, we are supporting and promoting various gas-based projects including NLNG Train 7 and the mega urea and ammonia projects in the South-South region.

47.​As we continue to optimise and enhance our oil and gas sector, I am also proud and delighted to state that our economic diversification strategy remains on course with the persistent increase in Non-Oil Sector contribution to GDP.

48.​We recovered from economic recession in quarter four of 2020 with a GDP growth rate of 0.11%, and grew by 0.51% and 5.01% in real terms in the first and second quarters of 2021.

49.​The Agricultural sector remains key to our economic diversification efforts as the sector has been a consistent driver of the non-oil sector contributing 22.35% and 23.78% to the overall GDP in the first and second quarter of 2021.

50.​We have seen significant private sector investments in almost all areas of the agricultural value chain. And these have continued even during the COVID-19 pandemic.

51.​Unfortunately, as our food production capacity has increased, food prices have been going up due to artificial shortages created by middlemen who have been buying and hoarding these essential commodities for profiteering.

52.​To address this, I am hereby directing the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to rehabilitate the National Food Reserve Agency and also work with security agencies, the Nigerian Commodity Exchange, and the National Assembly to find a lasting solution to these disruptive and unpatriotic hoarding activities.

53.​To further enhance food production, we have completed several new dams and are in the process of rehabilitating several River Basin Development Authorities to enhance ground water supply for rainfed agriculture as well as surface water for irrigation agriculture.

54.​The water projects we completed between 2015 to 2020 have improved Nigerian’s access to potable water to 71% between 2015 and 2020. This means 12.5 million additional Nigerians now have direct access to potable water.

Fellow Nigerians,
55.​This Government remains concerned by the significant transportation infrastructure deficit we have. Addressing the challenges our commuters and lorry drivers face on the motorways is still a high priority to us.

56.​To complement our budgetary allocations, the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund and the Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Scheme, we recently established a N15trillion Infrastructural Corporation of Nigeria Limited (INFRACO), which is expected to begin operation by the fourth quarter of this year.

57.​INFRACO will also focus on leveraging resources on a public-private sector basis for infrastructural development in Nigeria.

58.​We hope through these innovative programs, the additional cost burden on individuals and businesses because of inefficient logistics operations will be reduced and ultimately, eliminated.

59.​We currently have over 13,000 kilometres of roads and bridges under construction all over the country of which a fair percentage have been completed.

60.​As we fix our roads, we also continue to extend and upgrade Nigeria’s railway network with the notable opening of the Warri- Itakpe standard gauge rail line.

61.​To increase capacity, we have introduced more locomotives, coaches and wagons including the establishment of a Wagon Assembly in Kajola, Ogun State.

62.​The sea ports however still remain problematic. The effect of our various interventions to reduce the gridlocks and inefficiencies have been slower than expected.

63.​However, the implementation of the Electronic Call-Up System as well as the conversion of the Lillypond Container Terminal to a Vehicle Transit Area will further enhance the ease of cargo evacuation.

64.​Our prioritisation of developing Nigeria’s Digital Economy has positively impacted the contribution of the ICT sector to our GDP.

65.​We hope our present efforts to ensure all Nigerians use a National Identification Number as well as our planned roll-out of the fifth generation (5G) network technology will ensure we stay in line with the global innovation curve as a Nation.

66.​As we embrace the digital economy in Nigeria, we are fully aware of the prospects and the perils. Our policies have been developed to enable Nigerians to take advantage of the prospects and avoid the perils of digital technologies.

67.​Social media is a very useful platform that has enabled millions of Nigerians to connect with loved ones, promote their businesses, socialise, and access news and other information.

68.​However, recent events have shown that the platform is not just an innocuous platform for information dissemination.

69.​Rather some users have misused the platform to organise, coordinate, and execute criminal activities, propagate fake news, and promote ethnic and religious sentiments.

70.​To address these negative trends, the Federal Government of Nigeria suspended the operations of Twitter in Nigeria on June 5, 2021 to allow the Government put measures in place to address these challenges.

71.​Following the suspension of Twitter operations, Twitter Inc. reached out to the Federal Government of Nigeria to resolve the impasse. Subsequently, I constituted a Presidential Committee to engage Twitter to explore the possibility of resolving the issue.

72.​The Committee, along with its Technical Team, has engaged with Twitter and have addressed a number of key issues. These are:

a. National Security and Cohesion;
b. Registration, Physical presence and Representation;
c. Fair Taxation;
d. Dispute Resolution; and
e. Local Content.

73.​Following the extensive engagements, the issues are being addressed and I have directed that the suspension be lifted but only if the conditions are met to allow our citizens continue the use of the platform for business and positive engagements.

74.​As a country, we are committed to ensuring that digital companies use their platform to enhance the lives of our citizens, respect Nigeria’s sovereignty, cultural values and promote online safety.

75.​Nigeria’s progressive diplomacy continues to manifest through growing numbers of highly placed Nigerians in positions of regional and global influences. Very recently, Nigeria won election for the position of Commissioner for the expanded Political, Peace and Security Affairs of the African Union.

76.​Our persistent calls for a reorganized and reformed ECOWAS, to make the organization citizens-sensitive, paid off with the acceptance by the Authority of Heads of State and Governments of ECOWAS to commence the agreed reforms in the organization ahead of the next elections of the organization’s principal officers in December this year.

77.​At the African Development Bank, World Trade Organization and indeed, the United Nations, footprints of Nigeria’s Diplomacy are clearly evident.

78.​We remain confident that our goal of lifting 100million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years is achievable.

79.​Considering the positive impact of our Social Investment Programs, I recently approved an increase in the number of N-Power program beneficiaries from 500,000 to 1,000,000.

80.​Out of this, 510,000 have started the programme while the competitive selection process for onboarding the outstanding 490,000 beneficiaries is in progress.

81.​The National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme is currently being implemented in 35 States of the Federation and the FCT. Over 103,000 women have been engaged and empowered as cooks under the programme, while about 10 million pupils are being fed across public primary schools in the country.

82.​To grant increased access to credit to the most poor and vulnerable, I have directed an increase in the disbursement of Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme loans to an additional one million beneficiaries laying more emphasis on the smallholding farmers through the farmers Moni program.

Fellow Nigerians,
83.​For far too long we have neglected the centrality of the civil service as the engine of governance and this has manifested in ineffective service delivery.

84.​There is widespread discontent and disillusion about the efficiency and probity of our civil service.

85.​It is for this reason that we are refocusing the Nigerian Civil Service to provide World class service to run our country.

86.​The youths of this great country remain propellants for our today and provide guarantees that we would have a secure tomorrow.

87.​It is for this reason that I remain focused on expanding opportunities for their participation in politics and governance.

88.​Recent appointments of young people into positions of authority and their track record so far, gives me confidence that we need to bring more of them into governance and this I promise to do.

89.​More specifically, to encourage Girl-Child Education, female scholarship schemes, life skills and digital literacy skills to boost girl’s enrolment, retention and completion of schooling, are all initiatives put in place to ensure gender balance in appropriately positioning our youths for positions of leadership.

90.​The commitment of this Administration to the well-being of people living with disabilities remains unwavering.

91.​Government recognises their contributions to development and I have, in this regard, directed that all relevant Government Agencies pay special attention to the peculiarities of different abilities in the implementation of policies and programmes.

92.​Rape and Gender Based Violence remains a sore point in our Nation as in many countries worldwide and this was worsened during and after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

93.​We are currently engaging Heads of Courts to establish Specialised Courts for the speedy and seamless trial of Rape/Gender-Based offences especially to ensure that justice is done for child victims of sexual violence.

94.​On the other hand, work has advanced in the reformation, reintegration and reunification of Minors involved in one crime or the other.

95.​The reformation in our Correctional Services has manifested in an increase in modernised custodial centres and a transformation from strictly punitive to attitudinal changes so that criminals do not relapse into their previous lifestyle.

96.​As we begin to celebrate our sixty one years as a Nation, we need to be conscious that Nigeria does not start and end with the Federal Government. This country is a great collective where Government at all arms and levels as well as the private sector, and more importantly individuals, have a role to play.

97.​In particular, security is a bottom to top undertaking. Joining hands and hearts together would enable us to secure ourselves and our country.

98.​I fully understand the anxiety of many Nigerians on the inability of this country to go beyond a never-ending potential for becoming a great nation to an actually great one.

99.​A lot has been achieved in the last six years on many fronts: in infrastructure, social care, governance, Nigeria’s image and influence in Africa and the international community.

100.​But critics misdiagnose incremental progress as stagnation. Since coming to power, this Administration has tackled our problems head-on in spite of the meagre resources. No government since 1999 has done what we have done in six years to put Nigeria back on track.

101.​We shall continue to serve the country: listen to all and protect our democracy and country.

Thank you all and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

NIGERIA AT 61: LET US RESUME OUR MARCH TO GREATNESS!
A Press Release by the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress
 
On behalf of the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Organized Labour in Nigeria, I wish to congratulate Nigerian workers, the Nigerian people and the Nigerian Government on the occasion of Nigeria’s 61st Independence Anniversary. This is indeed another remarkable milestone in the history of our country.
There is no gainsaying the contribution of Nigeria’s working class to national development, peace and unity. On this commemoration of another independence anniversary, we recall and honour the selfless efforts of heroes and heroines past and present – Nigerian workers, our pensioners including ex-servicemen and women, members of the armed services, our women, our youths, and Nigerian children.
 Upon the attainment of independence sixty-one years ago, a lot was expected of the country that hosts the largest population of black people on the planet. It was on the strength of that hope that Nigeria shortly after Independence became the pilgrimage destination for many development minded world leaders including the famed Lee Kuan Yew of the Singapore phenomenal transformation. 
Sixty-one years ago, Nigeria was certainly on a march to greatness. In every part of the country, there was a manifest gush of hope, faith, energy and commitment in the stride of most Nigerians as our compatriots strove to prove a point that independence was not a fluke – that indeed we could do better than the white colonial administrators. Indeed, we sure made such a huge progress in those initial years of our national life. Those were the days of the famed groundnut pyramid in Kano, palm oil plantations in the Eastern region, the rubber estates in the Mid-West and the cocoa fields in Southwestern Nigeria. Life was indeed safe, secured and abundant!
Then, politics happened. Instead of building on the zeal and energy of Nigerian workers and people to redeem the image of the black race which was badly mauled by slave trade and colonization, our political leaders shifted their eyes from the dreams of a great country and became fixated with the delusion of personal conquests through primitive accumulation of wealth aided by a deliberate divide and rule politics. Till today, after many successive governments, our country is yet to recover from the tsunami of ethno-religious politics, values disorientation, and the weakening of unifying institutions.
The symptoms of the break in our progress march stare us hard in the face. Our deterioration has come so fast and furious that we have inadvertently surrendered our will and space for development to very unreasonable, violent and destructive non-state actors who have not only become a law to themselves but are trying to impose their regime of lawlessness on all of us. Today, millions of Nigerians are almost accepting life as internally displaced persons as normal. Today, many Nigerians would rather die at home than incur humungous hospital bills for surviving family members while wasting to a slow but certain death in our dilapidated public health facilities.
Unemployment especially among our teeming youth has risen to unprecedented levels and the youths are no longer willing to wait for jobs that are nowhere. The frustration and despondency of our youths is at the root of the numerous ills and crimes prevalent in different parts of the country. When we paused the march to human capital optimization, industrialization, food sufficiency, and egalitarianism, what were we expecting? Even the blind and the deaf now know that the chicken has come home to roost.
It is time to own up to the truth of our self-inflicted pains and examine closely where we lost it as a nation. It is not too late to resume our paused march to greatness. We can still become that country that accords the pride of place to truth, productivity, hard work, excellence, integrity, patriotism, service and sacrifice. We can still create industries for our teeming youths to gain decent jobs. We can still provide the excellent infrastructure that inspires inclusive economic growth. We can still foster an atmosphere of rule of law, equity, social justice, peace, law and order as a sustainable cure for the deregulated crises of violence in many parts of Nigeria. We can still regain our humanity of love and care for workers and pensioners.
The rest of the African continent waits for us. The entire black race believes that our renaissance as a country will be their redemption. We must not keep them all waiting for too long. We must now come to the party and take our high chair in the comity of nations.
As we march at different parade grounds this Independence Day, we all, political leaders, workers, employers of labour, clerics, community leaders, women, youth and children must all be mindful of the most important march – the resumption of our march as country to greatness. Let’s release the pause button. Let the march to true national greatness begin. Yes, we can!! Yes, we will!!!
 
May God bless Nigeria!
May God bless the Nigerian working Class
May God bless our Pensioners and Veterans
May our March Resume!
 
 
Comrade Ayuba Wabba, mni
President
1st October 2021

Press Release Nigeria At 61; Still Crawling …

The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) heartily congratulates all Nigerians on the special occasion of the country’s 61st anniversary. Though the journey has been a torturous one but at the same time we cannot deny that we have recorded some remarkable feats.
The contributions of the Nigerian working class in our developmental struggle cannot be over-emphasized. For instance, there was the Lagos strike of 1897 which was described as the first “major labour protest of colonial period.” We also had a General Strike in mid-1945 involving over 17 labour unions and an estimated number of 200, 000 workers participated. The reasons for the above strikes are not different from the reasons we still call out our members today. It is disheartening that at 61 we are still begging for better welfare, decent work and tools that would enable us (the workers) do our work.
We claim to be an independent country but the imperial masters through the Brettonwood institutions are still dictating our economic policies. The neo-liberal policies of the West have done Nigeria, nay Africa more harm than good. They tell our governments when to hike the price of petroleum products and devalue the naira. Nigerian workers have been in the struggle for good governance and will not stop until we get it right as a country. We have been accused of running a “parallel government” but we are not deterred. That goes to show how active and resilient the organized labour has become over the years.
This anniversary avails us another opportunity to assess our country –the achievement, successes, goals and aspirations. All the same, we hope that we will learn our lessons and make adjustments where necessary to enable the country achieve her developmental goals and fulfil her manifest destiny.
Nigeria is well blessed with resources enough to make her rank among the first three leading economies in the world. Beyond the resources from the ground, Nigerians have proven to have the innate ability to create wealth. Our resources have not been well managed by the elites; hence the country is categorized today as the poverty capital of the world. This has become our tale because appointments are predicated on political affiliation, ethnicity and religion.
Before oil was discovered in Oloibiri in Bayelsa state, agriculture was the country’s mainstay: there was palm oil in the east, cocoa in the West and groundnut in the North. The founding fathers did well infrastructurally with the revenue from these farm produce. Unfortunately, the craze for free oil money and neglect of other sectors of the economy, especially industries like tourism, textile, rubber and leather industries are responsible for the estimated 32.5 per cent unemployment rate and unprecedented insecurity in Nigeria. It breaks the heart that our once peaceful country has become volatile and uncertain today.
Nigeria is a diverse country with over 250 ethnic groups, 774 Local Government and estimated to have over two hundred million population. Instead of taking advantage of the potential, the politicians stunt the country’s development using ethnicity and religion. India and China have more population and practice more religions yet they are more organized, peaceful and developed. What was supposed to be an advantage has become a threat to our existence. It is all about leadership.
Today, there is hunger in our land. The prices of food stuff have hit the roof. Farmers cannot go to farm because of the activities of kidnappers, bandits and Boko Haram. In most parts of the North farmers even pay levies to bandits to enable them cultivate and harvest their crops. These extra costs are passed on to the consumers.
Who are these bandits, Boko Haram, IPOB members? These are young people that have been neglected by the system. Some are even the deliberate creations of politicians because they use them as political thugs, ballot snatchers, etc. They arm them to rig elections but never retrieved the arms after elections, which is why there is proliferation of arms in the country. Oftentimes, the security operatives confess that these bandits have more sophisticated fire power than they do.
At 61, we still do not have functional refineries. There are also issues of oil spillage, gas flaring, dearth of infrastructure. The oil producing states groan daily over government’s indifference to their plight. The global politics and economics are not helping our national development. The evolving global terms of trade appears to be a gang up against Africa, making it look like a safely distant battleground instead of a destination for investment.
This is the reason some have argued and expressed concerns that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) might further affect Nigeria’s economy since it lacks the basic infrastructure required for industrialization and economic development. Also, the challenge of manufacturers is further worsened by port congestion in Nigeria. The federal government has refused to develop other ports making it difficult for importers to clear their goods on time. Time has come to fix other ports so importers in the South-south, South-east and the entire North would not need to come to Lagos to clear their goods.
If the refineries and other critical sectors were working at optimum capacity the unemployment rate would have dropped. Government should not be comfortable creating employment elsewhere while the unemployment rate keeps increasing.
In July, 2021, the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed and Group Managing Director of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Miri Kyari at different forum revealed that Nigeria spends N150bn monthly on fuel subsidy. We wonder why they still pay for Turn Around Maintenance (TAM). They were just avenues to loot. In China, Singapore and a host of other countries some people will face capital punishment for such crimes but here they are adorned and honoured with awards and traditional titles.
At 61 we still do not have potable water. Everyone is a local government of its own – you build your house, dig your borehole, provide electricity, and sometimes construct roads. The power sector challenge is still there after almost a decade of privatization. Sadly, the federal government has continued to release money to the new owners. The question now is, why was it privatized in the first place? It is a case of the more you look the less you see.
Statistics show that between July 24, 2020 and September, 2021, about 862 Nigerian doctors were licensed in the UK despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall, 8,737 doctors who obtained their degrees in Nigeria currently practice in the UK. A video went viral recently showing hundreds of Nigeran doctors seeking employment in Saudi Arabia. Currently, the resident doctors are on strike. ASUU is also threatening to down tools. What is now the fate of those who cannot afford to travel abroad for medicare or send their children to study abroad like the politicians? There is no forex for companies to import raw materials but billions of dollars are lost through medical tourism and school fees.
We have recorded some successes in the banking sector following some reforms; but the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and other regulators must do more to end the unreasonable charges and other fraudulent practices in the sector. Manufacturers cannot access forex but Bureau De Change have them. No serious country working to grow its economy does that.
We commend the manufacturing sector operators for their resilience despite poor infrastructural development and the COVID-19 pandemic’s disruption. They have confirmed the saying by the legendary late British Prime Minister Winston Churchill who said “Never waste a good crisis.” For them to remain in business shows they are risk takers. Some have even diversified their business. Kudos to you all. However, it is imperative that government at all levels also seize the opportunities offered by this crisis to change the narratives and the dynamics of the economy by providing a friendly business environment.
To be frank, Nigeria entered the crisis quite weak with a fragile Gross Domestic Products (GDP) as the country was emerging from recession but luckily the country has remained afloat. It is a miracle because the industrial sector is currently characterised by low competitiveness, low-capacity utilisation, low skilled manpower base, heavy dependence on imported raw materials and commodity-based processing.
No country is truly independent until it is industrialised and able to produce most of what it consumes. The naira loses its value because Nigeria is a consuming nation. The Federal Government must as a matter of urgency create an enabling environment that would deepen light and heavy manufacturing companies. To actively participate in AfCFTA agreement, government must change the narrative. Similarly, the Immigration and Customs Services must also up their game – check expatriate quota and influx of foreigners into the country. Most of them are even without the necessary documents. We are sitting on a time bomb.
On our debt profile, we are of the opinion that the loans are enough. The federal government has to stop. Borrowing is not bad per se but it is obvious that it has been abused. Nigeria should not borrow for recurrent expenditure instead of investing in industries and infrastructure. As it stands, according to an analyst, with the country’s recent debt profile at over N33.00tn every Nigerian (including children) is owing over N160, 000. Government must realise that a borrower is a servant to the lender. Parents bequeath wealth to children and not debt.
The major trouble with Nigeria is that it has not been fortunate to have patriotic and dedicated leaders. Nigerians have not been given the opportunity to truly choose their own leader as seen in the gang up against electronic transmission of election result. The gap between the haves and the have-nots are daily and deliberately being widened so they can have the people at their whims and caprices.
All agitations and social frustrations across the country are not unconnected to the failure of the elite to take advantage of our national diversities and build a collective national prosperity. However, even at 61, the country can still find its feet if we have the right leaders that are ready to ride on equity, fairness and justice. Leaders must remember this saying by late South African president, Nelson Mandela, that; “The world will not respect Africa until Nigeria earns that respect. The black people of the world need Nigeria to be great as a source of pride and confidence…”
Com. Quadri A. Olaleye, FCIA, MNIM
President

Com. (Barr.) Musa-Lawal Ozigi, mni
Secretary General

30th September, 2021