President Muhammadu Buhari spoke on critical issues in his first major interview since his reelection in 2019.
In an exclusive interview with ARISE TV on Thursday, Buhari defended the policies of his government.
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He spoke on issues ranging from insecurity to infrastructure, agitation for secession, #EndSARS crisis, unemployment, farmers-herders crisis, the ruling party and his legacy.
WHY UNEMPLOYMENT PERSISTS AMONG YOUTHS
I agree there is youth unemployment, I also agree that until the youths stop destroying investments in their domain, no other investors will come to their areas to provide jobs.
Look at Lagos, for example, a serious governor procured over 200 new buses for his people and some youths said they were angry and burnt all those buses without thinking twice.
Tell me how that will bring jobs for them.
The youths must assure investors that investments are safe in their communities.
NIGERIA’S RELATIONSHIP WITH CHAD, NIGER REPUBLIC
When I came I went to Chad, Niger and Cameroon. If we are not in a good relationship, Boko Haram would have done worst to us. I told one French man that you people sat down in 1885 with a rule and pencil and drew lines. I have a cousin in Niger Republic.
There are Hausas, Kanuris and Fulani in Niger Republic; there are Yorubas in Benin Republic. You cannot simple cut them off. Read the plan to see how we are rehabilitating the rail.
Niger has discovered oil, too. We don’t want to allow them to go through Benin Republic. We want them to come through Nigeria. When we send the rail up to Maradi, they will send all their exports through Nigeria rather than Benin Republic.
The president then reiterated his statement that IPOB members will treated in the “language that they understand”.
‘THE MILITARY WILL GO AFTER IPOB’
“I was encouraged by what I heard, nobody told me. Two statements from the south south: one by the elderly people, they said this time around there would be no (secession). And again the youth made the same statement; such encouragement,” Buhari said.
“So that IPOB is just like a dot in a circle. Even if they want to exit, they’ll have no access to anywhere. And the way they are spread all over the country, having businesses and properties. I don’t think IPOB knows what they are talking about.
“In any case, we say we’ll talk to them in the language that they understand. We’ll organise the police and the military to pursue them.”
NO LOPSIDED APPOINTMENTS
Buhari said he will not pick somebody to fill a particular position just to balance up, while neglecting those who had passed through the training and ranks.
Critics of the president have accused him of appointing those from the north into strategic positions but the president said, “They trained in Zaria or Abeokuta, they come through the ranks and because they served under all the circumstances, the crises and everything and they gradually rise to the status.
“And you think, you will just pick somebody just to balance up. These positions have to be earned. There are people who have been there for 10 to 15 years. Just because someone would say there is nobody. If you do not join, you are not forced to join. When you join, you go through the rigmarole. You go through the problem.”
When asked what he is doing to make the people of the south-east feel included in his administration, Buhari said people from the south-east are in the south-east, adding that they must pass through the process.
“You better get the list of our civil servants, if you think there are no people from the south-east. There are people from the south-east,” he said.
On #EndSARS protest, he said, “You remember the young people that wanted to march here and remove me? Tell the young people to behave themselves and make the country safe, then we can attract real investors to the country.”