President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed surprise at the level of insecurity in the North-west and other parts of the country, promising tougher measures against bandits and Boko Haram that had made life difficult for Nigerians.
Buhari spoke at the State House in Abuja, when he received a delegation of Eminent and Respected Citizens of Niger State led by Governor Abubakar Sani Bello on Tuesday, January 28, 2020.
The President said while Boko Haram was well known to him at the time of his campaigns, he was taken aback by banditry whose activities had forced many to abandon their farms and homes.
He promised that “harder times” await bandits whose disruptive activities have brought sorrow to Nigerians, kept many away from their means of livelihood, and heightened insecurity in parts of the country.
A statement issued by Femi Adesina Special Adviser to the President (Media & Publicity) quoted the president as saying: “we will now be harder on them.”
“I was taken aback by what is happening in the North-West and other parts of the country. During our campaigns, we knew about the Boko Haram. What is coming now is surprising. It is not ethnicity or religion; rather it is one evil plan against the country,” the President said.
“We have to be harder on them. One of the responsibilities of government is to provide security. If we don’t secure the country, we will not be able to manage the economy properly. “
President Buhari said the onslaught of the bandits had also affected agricultural output in some parts of the country, in spite of the favourable weather for farming, because many farmers were attacked, and others had to stay away for safety.
The President said the poverty level in the country will be significantly controlled by diversifying into agriculture, instead of the heavy reliance on oil, urging more Nigerians to take up agriculture.
President Buhari said the discovery of oil and gas reserves in Chad Basin, Benue trough and Bida, and some parts of Bauchi and Gombe, will further bolster current efforts to strengthen the Nigerian economy.
He advised leaders in the Niger Delta to counsel those who blow up pipelines, resulting in spillages that affect farming and farmlands, noting that the loss had always been collective, sometimes turning hard-working farmers to victims.