President Muhammadu Buhari has decried the recent surge in rape cases in the country and killings in Katsina and Borno states, just as he expressed the commitment of his administration to end insurgency, banditry and other forms of criminality across the nation.
Speaking in a national broadcast on the occasion of this year’s Democracy Day yesterday, the president said he was “particularly upset” at recent incidents of rape, adding that the police were pursuing the cases with a view to bringing perpetrators to swift justice.
- How 100-level UNIBEN student was ‘gang-raped, killed’ inside church
- Medical doctor rapes 11-yr-old housemaid in Benue
He saluted the courage, enterprise and resilience of women as well as their contributions to national development, and assured them of his administration’s determination to fight gender-based violence through the instrumentality of the law and awareness creation.
He said security was being accorded appropriate priority as the armed forces had “considerably downgraded” such threats across all geo-political zones.
“All the local governments that were taken over by Boko Haram insurgents in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa have long been recovered and are now occupied by indigenes of these areas who were hitherto forced to seek a living in areas far from their ancestral homes.
“The total collapse of the economies of these areas which constituted a threat to our food security has also been reversed with the gradual recovery of farming and other economic activities,” he added.
He implored state and local governments to revamp their intelligence assets so that security agencies can check any planned attacks in remote rural areas, while sending condolences to all the relatives and communities affected.
He said his administration had recorded notable achievements in the course of implementing its nine priority objectives and establishing a solid foundation for future success.
The president said the objectives had remained to stabilize macroeconomy, achieve agricultural and food security, ensure energy sufficiency in power and petroleum products, develop infrastructure, fight corruption and improve governance.
Buhari said agriculture remained the key to his economic diversification strategy, adding that efforts on growing non-oil exports had started yielding results as revenue from cocoa and sesame seed increased by $79.4 million and $153 million in the past year.
While noting that Africa presents a huge opportunity for Nigeria’s export base diversification, he added Nigeria is developing strategy to grow intra-Africa trade through the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement.
Buhari said he had directed the resuscitation of the Ajaokuta Steel Plant based on government-to-government financing and a public-private sector financing to show government’s commitment to expanding the mining sector.
The president congratulated all Nigerians and particularly leaders of our democratic institutions on their resilience and determination to ensure that Nigeria remains a shining example of democracy, saying “sustaining our democracy thus far has been a collective struggle”.
“The 2020 celebration of Democracy Day marks 21 years of uninterrupted civil administration in our dear country. This day provides us an opportunity to reflect on our journey as a nation, our achievements and struggles.
“It is a day to honour our founding fathers who toiled to establish our republic and every Nigerian who has worked tirelessly to sustain it,” he said.