The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Friday morning said the Federal Government would in 2021 ensure speedy determination of corruption cases.
Buhari, who made the promise in his New Year message to Nigerians, noted that his regime had recorded substantial gains in the fight against corruption.
According to him, the regime is committed to continuing along the path of eradicating corruption, through collaboration with all the arms of government to effectively prosecute the fight.
The President said, “While we would be working with the legislature to enact laws that would strengthen this fight, we would also be looking at reviewing some of our laws which would ensure that this fight is more effective. On the part of the executive, we would ensure the diligent and timely prosecution of corruption cases, while appealing to the judiciary to ensure that corruption cases are dispensed with expeditiously.”
He also promised Nigerians that he would play his role as the nation’s leader without fear or favour. He said that was what he owed the country’s founding and future generation.
In promising to lead without fear and favour, the President asked Nigerians to also behave likewise.
He said, “As your elected President, my pledge to you is the same as it has always been; I will play my part fully and without fear or favour.
“I invite all of us to do the same. It is what we owe the founding generation of our beloved country and also to the coming generation. It is what we desire for national prosperity.”
Buhari said he did not begrudge critics of his regime who hold the view that the progress recorded under him should have been faster and more sufficient since what they want is a better Nigeria.
He, however, called on Nigerians to, in assessing his regime, recall what he met on the ground and the resources at his disposal since 2015.
The President added, “I am aware that for some of our compatriots, the progress we have registered since the inception of this administration is not nearly as fast or as sufficient as they would wish. I do not begrudge them their views in so far as they signify a wish, in which we all share, for only the very best for our country.
“Nevertheless, I call upon all Nigerians to carefully recall the circumstances of our coming to office, the facts on the ground and the resources at our disposal since 2015 with the accomplishments of this administration.
“As a people, we have shown admirable resilience in the face of every adversity, an unmatched capacity to recover speedily from every setback, an unparalleled generosity of spirit when we resolve our differences, and a constant readiness to invest faith and hope in the destiny we share as a united country built on the diversity of its peoples.
“It is these attributes that underpin the Nigerian spirit of ‘can do, will do’ that gives me hope that we shall yet get to destination and fulfil our calling together, especially with the solid resolutions we are setting in this new year.
“Keeping our country on a forward march is a duty which we all have and share. In this regard, keeping our country safe from a resurgent cycle of COVID-19 as this administration finalizes its plans to procure and efficiently and effectively distribute the COVID-19 vaccines, I urge you all fellow citizens to observe strict COVID-19 prevention protocols.”
2020, one of the Nigeria’s most trying years
In thanking God for the New Year, the President said 2020 remained one of the most trying years of Nigeria since inception.
While further describing 2020 as very tough year, he said the year put to test Nigerians’ resilience and ability to survive.
Buhari recalled that Nigeria celebrated its 60th independence during the year and confounded the many pundits at home and around the world who never gave the country a chance of surviving much longer than a few years in 1960.
The President also recalled that 2020 came with a lot of challenges ranging from security and economic issues across the regions to protests that were mainly led by youths who called for police reforms and accountability.
He said his regime heard, listened and was committed to fulfilling the five demands of the youth.
He said he would continue to listen to key stakeholders who are committed to the unity of Nigeria to ensure that every region is safe.
On security, Buhari said he was committed to re-energising and reorganising the security apparatus and personnel of the armed forces and the police with a view to enhancing their capacity to engage, push back and dismantle the operations of both internal and external extremist and criminal groups waging war against communities in some parts of the country.
He said he however recognised that the regime had to rapidly move to a more proactive and preemptive posture.
Insecurity: We will continue learning, says Buhari
“Our administration is fully aware of the responsibility we have to protect the lives and property of all Nigerians, and we will not relent in learning and adapting to changing threats to our national security and civic wellbeing,” he said.
On the economy, he said his regime’s focus was on revamping the economy through the national economic diversification agenda that supports the primary goal of national food self-sufficiency.
This, he said, had helped to reduce the growing food related inflationary figures.
He added, “We are also currently rebuilding our national infrastructure base and, in the process, introducing transformation through the rehabilitation, modernization, and expansion of the railway system, national roads and bridges both in rural and urban centres, alongside the airports and seaports.
“The reforms we have put in place in the power sector would guarantee increased efficiency in our drive to significantly expand the generation and distribution of electricity for use in homes and factories.
“As an administration, we are currently undertaking a series of special interventions designed to boost job creation and support the entrepreneurial drive of our youths.
“With the recent opening of our borders, we expect that the pent-up demand of legitimate cross-border and international trade will boost the fortunes of the many small businesses and agricultural enterprises that depend on Nigeria’s trade and commerce.
“The message to our West African neighbours is that Nigeria is once again fully open for those willing to conduct business in a fair and equitable way.”
The President also lamented insecurity in the country. He stated, “Insecurity as a challenge has direct repercussions on our national economic stability, growth, and development, setting us back at critical points through the destruction of public and private investments.
“In parts of the country, where chronic poverty, social exclusion, and disillusionment among sections of the youth were already a problem, the cycles of violence that have been unleashed by mindless groups like Boko Haram and others have thwarted the efforts of government to undertake the social policy and associated investments that could make a huge difference in the quality of life of our citizens.”