President Muhammadu Buhari has said that more work needs to be done in terms of maximizing the economic impact on the citizens of the country such as job creation, employment generation, poverty eradication and the general living conditions.
He said this noting that even though some achievements were made in the fight against grand corruption, recent events have shown that the path to fighting corruption requires consistent commitment.
“We shall therefore remain resolute and committed to the course we have chosen, in the interest of our dear nation: to fight corruption, without fear or favour no matter who is involved, the solemn message is that: no one is above the law and the law must take its course” he said.
Buhari who was represented by the minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (rtd) at the graduation ceremony of Course 29 participants at the National Defence College, Abuja also said, “Although the nation is still grappling with the challenges of terrorism, banditry, kidnapping, farmers and herder clashes and militancy, the responses by my government and security agencies in tackling these threats have been strong, determined and robust in order to enhance security of lives and property of Nigerians.
“Recent events have shown that we are not yet where we should be in the North East and in some other parts of our dear nation, all hands will continue to be on deck to make Nigeria a safer place to live” he added.
His words, “On assumption of office on 29 May 2015, Nigeria was grappling with a state of insecurity quickened by typical extraneous factors and a devastating environment of structural, institutional and human development.
“Some of these domestic conditions include gross infrastructural deficits, a single product economy, low national production, food insecurity, unemployment, widespread poverty, endemic corruption, a divisive and elitist political class as well as an apathetic population.
“The state of national insecurity was very challenging. After a deep and sober reflection, we were motivated to put our nation back on track through security and sustainable development.
“Consequently, we set out to work on the electoral mandates namely: improving the economy; curbing corruption; and fighting insecurity.
“On security, my government embarked on a comprehensive multi-sectoral and cross thematic approach by strengthening existing structures and initiating new security outfits.
“Our focus was to promote multi-national, combined, joint and special inter-agency collaborations in their operations. We also focused on non-kinetic actions centered on humanitarian efforts to reduce the distress of our people and improve human conditions.
“Some of these measures include Disarmament, Demobilization and Rehabilitation as well as de-radicalization programmes, political reconciliation measures and instruments of development intervention.
“After 6 years in office, it is appropriate to pause and soberly reflect on the progress we have made so far as a nation and the path that we must take. On the economy, the results are mixed. While there are significant improvements in certain economic fundamentals and macro-economic indicators, some specific areas need to improve quickly.
“I must admit, on the whole, that more work needs to be done in terms of maximizing the economic impact on the citizens such as job creation, employment generation, poverty eradication and the general living conditions.
“On corruption, we initially made much progress in stemming institutional and grand corruption. However, recent events have shown that the path to fighting corruption requires consistent commitment.
“We shall therefore remain resolute and committed to the course we have chosen, in the interest of our dear nation: to fight corruption, without fear or favour no matter who is involved. The solemn message is that: no one is above the law and the law must take its course.
“Although the nation is still grappling with the challenges of terrorism, banditry, kidnapping, farmers and herder clashes and militancy, the responses by my government and security agencies in tackling these threats have been strong, determined and robust in order to enhance security of lives and property of Nigerians.
“We consolidated the peace in the Niger Delta and recovered vast territories overtaken by terrorists in the North East. We are making continuous efforts at consolidating the progress made in improving the enabling security environment for peace and development.
“It is very important that I seize this opportunity to salute the gallant men and women of the Armed Forces of Nigeria who daily risk their lives to make the nation safe. Your sacrifices shall not be in vain. I also salute the officers, rank and file of the Nigeria Police Force, the personnel of the various intelligence and security agencies, staff of international and local Civil Society Organizations and Nongovernmental Organizations as well as local vigilante and community groups for their patriotic and humanitarian sacrifices.
“Although, recent events have shown that we are not yet where we should be in the North East and in some other parts of our dear nation, all hands will continue to be on deck to make Nigeria a safer place to live.
“In spite of all of these challenges, our faith in the nation is unshaken. Our resolve and will to take the nation to greater heights remains strong. My government’s collective effort is to leverage technological innovations to deliver the dividends of democracy for national development.
“These efforts are evident in the profound changes in the policy environment, national security and governance. The changes include on-going diversification of the economy by fast tracking industrialization, agriculture and agro-allied processing through technology, reforms in the oil and gas sector, implementation of various social investment programmes all of which are anchored on technology as the cornerstone of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
“We are also prioritizing critical infrastructure with increasing investment in power, rail and roads with considerable progress achieved so far.
“For the graduands of Course 29, you are graduating at a time when the values acquired in the College are most needed. I commend you on your graduation and charge you to use the knowledge, skills and aptitudes acquired on the Course to improve the overall service delivery of security and defence in our dear nation.
“For the international participants, I urge you as you return home to make good use of the values acquired here in your nations. Make your nations safer and more secured.
“I have been informed that past international participants of this prestigious College who excelled in their career in their countries were honoured with the Distinguished Personality of Defence College (dpdc) award during the Graduation Dinner/Award Night.
“These include the former Chief of Defence Staff of the Senegalese Armed Forces, who is now an Ambassador, General Mamadou Sow, former Inspector General of the Senegalese Armed Forces, Major General Francois Ndiaye and the current Chief of the Air Staff of the Guinea Bissau Air Force, Major General Flint Ferreira.
“I therefore, urge all the foreign graduands to toe the path of excellence and make the National Defence College proud in their countries”.
A breakdown of the 96 graduating participants show that 22 are from the Nigerian Army, 25 from the Nigerian Navy, 11 from the Nigerian Airforce, 6 from the Nigerian Police, 14 from MDAs and 14 participants from Foreign countries including Germany, Nepal and Bangladesh.
Present at the occasion were former Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State and former Commandant of the NDC, Rear Admiral John Jonah (rtd), Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Lucky Irabor, Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Farouk Yahaya, Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Admiral AZ Gambo, Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, Inspector General of Police, and IGP Usman Alkali Baba and Chief of Defence Intelligence, Major Gen SA among others.