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    Buhari announces plan for massive infrastructural projects

    APA-Abuja (Nigeria)

    President Muhammadu Buhari has announced plan to embark on massive infrastructural projects in the country.

    In his New Year broadcast to the nation on Monday, Buhari said that he was highly gratified that agriculture has picked up, contributing to the government’s effort to re-structure the economy.

    “Rice imports will stop this year. Local rice, fresher and more nutritious rice will be on our dishes from now on.

    “By the same token, I am today appealing to enterprising Nigerians with ideas and unemployed graduates and other able-bodied and literate men and women with ideas, not to just sit and wait for employment from the government or the organized private sector.

    He said that great nations were built by enterprising people who turn their hands to anything that circumstances dictate.

    On power, President Buhari noted that more Nigerians across the country were experiencing improved power supply to their homes and businesses and, however, observed that power has remained a concern to his administration because not many people enjoyed regular and reliable power supply.

    He said electricity generation had now reached 7,000 megawatts while on December 8, 2017, the country achieved 5,155 megawatts of power delivered to consumers, the highest level ever recorded.

    According to him, several moribund projects have been revived while repairs of Afam Power Station added 110mw in 2017 and another 240mw will be added this year through a private investment partnership.

    Buhari, therefore expressed the hope that these massive public works, including railways, should spearhead the recovery and lead millions back to employment.

    On security, he reassured the citizens that security of life and property was still top of his administration’s agenda.

    He said: “We have since beaten Boko Haram. Isolated attacks still occur, but even the best-policed countries cannot prevent determined criminals from committing terrible acts of terror as we have seen during the past years in Europe, Asia, Middle East, elsewhere in Africa and in America.’’

    According to him, the All Progressives Congress led Federal Government remains determined to protect all Nigerians in line with its election pledge and promises.

    The president thanked the nation’s armed forces, the police, other para-military forces and traditional authorities, whom he said, were working round the clock to ensure that all citizens engaged in normal business in reasonable safety.

    He noted that terrorism and urban crimes are world-wide phenomena and the security forces are continuously adapting their responses to changing threats.

    With regard to rampant cases of kidnappings, President Buhari stated that government had taken “immediate short-term measures to combat this new evil creeping into our societies’’.

    He revealed that tighter police methods and swift and severe punishment for those proved to be engaged in kidnapping would soon be adopted to check the menace.

    On petrol scarcity, Buhari expressed sadness on the fuel scarcity which marred Christmas and New Year celebrations.

    He described the petrol crisis as ``collective blackmail of all Nigerians’’ and vowed to prevent those behind the scarcity.

    ``I am determined to get to the root of this collective blackmail of all Nigerians and ensure that whichever groups are behind this manipulated hardship will be prevented from doing so again,’’

    he said.

    On Niger Delta, Buhari said government would continue to engage responsible leadership of the communities to help in identifying and addressing genuine grievances of the region.

    He said the Federal Government, in collaboration with the United Nations, had been recording satisfactory progress in the ongoing clean-up programme in Ogoniland and other parts of the Niger Delta.

    “I am grateful to all the governors and other political and community leaders of the Niger Delta states for their part in bringing relative peace to the areas,’’ he added.

    He said that Nigerians should get used to discipline and direction in economic management as ‘the days of business as usual are numbered'..

    . MM/GIK/APA

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