President Muhammadu Buhari has declared that his government is winning the war against terrorists and secessionists, even as he announced that the government has uncovered persons sponsoring secessionists including an unnamed serving member of the National Assembly.
The President in his 37-minute-address to the nation to mark Nigeria’s 61th Independence Anniversary refused to designate bandits as terrorists as being clamoured by Nigerians including the country’s Parliament.
The Senate on Wednesday called on the President to declare bandits as terrorists because of the terror they ceaselessly unleashed on Nigerians and the Nigerian State on daily basis, including the latest which is: the killing of 35 persons in Southern Kaduna on Tuesday, September 28, 2021. The House of Representatives followed suit the next day Thursday, by asking the President to designate bandits as terrorists and subsequently rout out them completely.
Surprisingly, in his address to the nation on Friday, October 1, 2021, Buhari did not mention any plan to declare bandit terrorists, but dwelled hugely on how he succeeded in “arresting” Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) and Sunday Adeyemo, the Yoruba self determination activist.
His word, “We shall continue to work on dialogue based solutions to address legitimate grievances. But we remain ready to take decisive actions against secessionist agitators and their sponsors who threaten our national security.
“The recent arrests of Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Adeyemo, and the ongoing investigations being conducted have revealed certain high-profile financiers behind these individuals. We are vigorously pursuing these financiers including one identified as a serving member of the national assembly.
“This is a clear example of how people abandon their national leadership positions for their selfish gains. Instead of preaching unity, they are funding and misleading our youth to conduct criminal acts that sometimes lead to unfortunate and unnecessary loss of lives and property.
“As the so-called leaders run abroad to hide, our innocent youths are misled and left in the streets to fight for their senseless and destructive causes.
“Government will continue, with greater level of peoples’ participation and in collaboration with our international partners, to improve the security architecture, reduce enabling environment for criminality to thrive and eliminate opportunities for terrorism financing”.
On the dwindling economy and naira, Buhari failed to mention the Gold being mined in Zamfara, the Northwest of Nigeria by private individuals and groups without remitting any fund to the federal treasury, but dwelled largely on crude oil sales being extracted in the Southern Nigeria.
His word, “Our unrelenting effort at resolving an almost two-decade stalling on the management of our Petroleum resources and ensuring equitable consideration to our host communities has resulted in the enactment of the Petroleum Industry Act, 2021.
“This Act not only overhauls the Institutional, regulatory and fiscal framework of the Petroleum Industry, but also reduces the previous opacity associated with this sector.
“This is the first step to the reforms as the process is a continuous one. Already, to further improve the governance framework, I have sought for an amendment of sections 11(2)(b) and 34(2)(b). We will also continue to review and amend as appropriate”.
On the National Assembly, described by many as a rubber stamp to his government, he said, “At this juncture, it is very appropriate that I salute the leadership and members of the Ninth Assembly for their patriotism, dedication to duty, candour and most importantly the dispatch with which they have enacted legacy legislations for this nation. I do not take such level of cooperation for granted and hope it continues for the overall efficiency of the Federal machinery.
“Nigeria’s Roadmap on Local Refining is on track with the Commissioning of a Modular refinery in Imo State.
“A second is scheduled for commissioning by the end of this year in Edo State and the third one in Bayelsa State by 2022.
“In addition to the modular projects, we also have the two mega refinery projects coming up in Lagos and Akwa Ibom States.
“As these refineries are commissioned, more employment opportunities are created and there would be increased petroleum products available for local consumption which will significantly reduce our reliance on importation.
“In further demonstrating our plan to reduce our dependence on oil and tapping from our enormous gas resources, this administration remains committed to the “Decade of Gas” Initiative, which is aimed at bringing to focus the utilization of our huge gas resources.
“Already, we are supporting and promoting various gas-based projects including NLNG Train 7 and the mega urea and ammonia projects in the South-South region”.
Uche Nwosu is a two time Shell Petroleum PLC award winner in the year 2000;
He won the Shell Award on Investigative Journalism and Environmental Cleanliness.