Full speech of President Buhari New Year 2018 Broadcast

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Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari gave

his 2018 New Year’s National broadcast this

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morning.

In the speech, the President had very strong

words for those who may have been behind

the recent fuel scarcity that the nation

experienced saying, ‘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.

Such unpatriotism will not divert the

Administration from the course we have set

ourselves’.

Read the full speech below…

I join my fellow citizens this morning

to welcome and celebrate the New

Year 2018. This year promises to be

pivotal in our quest for CHANGE.

Unfortunately, I am saddened to

acknowledge that for many

this Christmas and New Year holidays

have been anything but merry and

happy. Instead of showing love,

companionship and charity, some of

our compatriots chose this period to

inflict severe hardship on us all by

creating unnecessary fuel scarcity

across the country.

The consequence was that not many

could travel and the few who did had

to pay exorbitant transport fares. This

is unacceptable given that NNPC had

taken measures to ensure availability

at all depots. 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.

Such unpatriotism will not divert the

Administration from the course we

have set ourselves. Our government’s

watch word and policy thrust is

CHANGE. We must change our way of

doing things or we will stagnate and

be left behind in the race to lift our

people out of poverty and into

prosperity.

My address to fellow Nigerians this

morning is devoted mainly to informing

you about the intense efforts this

Administration is putting to address

our country’s huge infrastructural

deficit.

President Muhammadu Buhari

We are going to make significant in-

roads in advancing road, rail and

power projects across the country.

The Ministry of Power, Works and

Housing is one of the drivers

of this Government’s commitment to

renew and increase Nigeria’s stock of

infrastructure in order to achieve

global economic

competitiveness as targeted under the

Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.

With regards to Railways, we have set

ourselves ambitious targets. Already in

construction stage is the Lagos-Kano

Standard Gauge Railway.

The line should reach Ibadan from

Lagos by the end of this year and will

carry two million passengers per year

and five million tons of cargo will be

transported every year giving a

substantial boost to the country’s

economy.

Construction of the Kano – Kaduna

segment is expected to commence

this year and reach Kaduna by the end

of 2019. By the end of 2021 the two

ends will be joined so that we will

have standard gauge railway across

the main North-South trading route.

The Abuja – Kaduna route will be

boosted by additional rolling

stock next Thursday and will be able

to handle one million commuters

annually.

At the same time I have approved and

negotiations will be concluded in the

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first part of this year for the Port

Harcourt to

Maiduguri line covering Aba, Owerri,

Umuahia, Enugu, Awka,

Abakaliki, Makurdi, Lafia, Jos, Bauchi,

Gombe, Yola and Damaturu. The

Abuja to Itakpe line will go

through Baro and terminates in Warri

with construction of a new seaport at

Warri.

Negotiations are also advanced for the

construction ofother railway

lines, firstly from Kano to Maradi in

Niger Republic passing through

Kazaure, Daura, Katsina, Jibiato

Maradi.

Secondly, Lagos to

Calabar the “Coastal Rail” through

Ore, Benin, Agbor, Asaba, Onitsha,

Sapele, Ughelli,

Warri, Yenagoa, Otuoke, Port

Harcourt, Aba, Uyo and Calabar. In

the next few years, all these Nigerian

cities will be linked by functional

modern rail systems, giving enormous

boost to the social and economic life

of our people.

With respect to the Abuja Capital Light

Rail, progress has reached 98%

completion, as at 64% completion

when we assumed office. Only test

runs remain before start of

operations.

This train service will stimulate

economic activities in the Federal

Capital and provide residents with an

efficient and safe transportation

system. Twelve railway sub-stations

around the capital over a

45.2 kilometre route will serve as a

catalyst and a pull factor to the

economy of the area. The Light Rail

System will reduce traffic congestion

and carbon emission in line with the

Administration’s policy on climate

change.

Management of the Federal Road

Maintenance Agency (FERMA) has

been reconstituted and has been

charged with a 12 week rapid

intervention in road repairs to cover all

the geo-political zones. Government is

undertaking repairs and maintenance

of 44 roads within the the six geo-

political zones.

Twenty five major highways will be

funded under the N100b SUKUK

facility. Each geo-political zone will

benefit by an equal amount of

N16.67b. The following major

highways are to receive special

attention:

a. Oyo – Ogbomosho,

b. Ofusu – Ore – Ajebandele –

Shagamu,

c. Yenegoa Road Junction –

Kolo Otuoke – Bayelsa Palm,

d. Enugu – Part Harcourt

Dual Carrriage Way,

e. Onitsha – Enugu Expressway,

f. Kaduna Eastern Bypass,

g. Dualization of Kano – Maiduguri

Road,

h. Dualization of Abuja – Lokoja –

Benin Road,

i. Dualization of Suleja – Minna Road.

In addition, Government has approved

work to start on the re-construction of

Abuja – Kaduna – Zaria – Kano

roadwhich is in a state of disrepair.

Work will soon start and is expected to

be completed in 2019.

More Nigerians across the country are

experiencing improved power supply to

their homes and businesses. However,

power remains a concern to this

governmentbecause too many

people still do not have regular and

reliable supply.

The Payment Assurance Guarantee

Scheme which started in January 2016

has enabled the Nigerian Bulk

Electricity Trader to raise so far N701

billion to assure Generation Companies

of at least 80% payment for any power

delivered to the national grid.

Consequently, generation has now

reached 7,000MW. On December 8,

2017 the country achieved 5,155MW

of power delivered to consumers, the

highest level ever recorded.

Several moribund projects have been

revived. Repairs of Afam Power

Station added 110MW in 2017 and

another 240MW will be added this year

through a private investment

partnership.

Katsina Power Project is now being

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tested and producing 10MW of power

from wind for the first time in Nigeria.

It should be fully operational this

year.

The Zungeru 700MW Hydroelectric

Power Project, stalled by court cases

is due for completion in 2019. The

transmission and other requirements

to operate the 30MW Gurara Phase 1

Hydroelectric Plant, the

40MW KashinbillaHydroelectric Plant

and the 215 MW Kaduna Gas/LPG/

Diesel Power Plant will also be

completed this year.

A landmark project, Mambilla

Hydroelectric Power Project is at last

taking off. This project has been on

the drawing Board for 40 years, but

now the engineering, procurement and

construction contract for the 3,050MW

project has been agreed with a

Chinese joint venture Company with a

financing commitment from the

government of China. Completion is

targeted for 2023.

As I mentioned earlier, the

Transmission Company of Nigeria can

now distribute all the 7,000MW that

can be generated. TCN and the Niger

Delta Holding Company have

added 1,950MVA of 330 down

to 132KV transformer capacity of 10

transmission stations and 2,930MVA of

132 down to 33KV transformer

capacity of 42 sub-stations including

Ikot Ekpene, Aba, Alagbon, Ajah, Ej

igbo, Funtuaand Zaria.?

This Administration is working with the

privatised distribution Companies to

overcome the continuing challenges of

distribution.

These massive public works should

spearhead the recovery and lead

millions back to employment. You will

recall that it was not until last year

that we got out of

the economic recession into which the

country had fallen as a consequence

of past unsustainable economic

policies which projected short-term

illusory growth.

The government is slowly stabilizing

the economy.

It was in order to change the steady

and steep decline that we adopted the

more sustainable policies

and programmes captured in the

Economic Recovery Plan.

Diversification efforts have resulted in

improved output particularly in

agriculture and solid minerals sectors.

The relative exchange rate

stability has improved manufacturing

sector performance.

We have got to get used to discipline

and direction in economic

management. The days of business as

usual are numbered.

Two years ago I appealed to people to

go back to the land. I am 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 will be on

our dishes from nowon.

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. Great nations are built

by enterprising people who turn their

hands to anything that circumstances

dictate.

In respect of political developments, I

have kept a close watch on the on-

going debate about “Restructuring”. No

human law or edifice is perfect.

Whatever structure we develop must

periodically be perfected according to

changing circumstances and the

country’s socio-economic

developments. We Nigerians can be

very impatient and want to improve

our conditions faster than may be

possible considering our resources and

capabilities. When all the aggregates

of nationwide opinions are considered,

my firm view is that our problems are

more to do with process than

structure.

We tried the Parliamentary system: we

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jettisoned it. Now there are shrill cries

for a return to the Parliamentary

structure. In older democracies these

systems took centuries to evolve so

we cannot expect a copied system to

fit neatly our purposes. We must give

a long period of trial and improvement

before the system we have adopted is

anywhere near fit for purpose.

However, there is a strong case for a

closer look at the cost of government

and for the public services long used

to extravagance, waste and corruption

to change for the better. I assure you

that government is ever receptive to

ideas which will improve governance

and contribute to the country’s peace

and stability.

As the electioneering season

approaches politicians must avoid

exploiting ethnicity and religion by

linking ethnicity with religion and

religion with politics. Such must be

avoided at all costs if we are to live in

harmony.

In this respect the rest of Nigeria

could learn from the South Western

States who have successfully

internalized religion, ethnicity and

politics.

Political discourse should be

conducted with civility, decorum and in

a constitutional manner. We all have a

collective responsibility to strengthen

our democracy and entrench the rule

of law. We should draw

encouragement from the series of bye-

elections conducted by INEC last year

which were generally violence free and

their outcomes adjudged to be free

and fair.

Before I conclude my address I must

reassure my fellow citizens that

security of life and property is still top

of our government’s agenda. 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.

Our government remains determined to

protect all Nigerians in line with our

election pledge and promises.On

behalf of all Nigerians let me offer our

thanks to the Armed forces, the

Police, other para-military forces and

traditional authorities who are working

round the clock to ensure that you and

I go about our normal business in

reasonable safety.

Terrorism and urban crimes are world-

wide phenomena and our security

forces are continuously adapting

their responses to changing threats.

With regard to rampant cases of

kidnappings, we are taking immediate

short-term measures to combat this

new evil creeping into our societies.

Tighter police methods

and swift and severe punishment for

those proved to be engaged in

kidnapping are on the way.

With respect to Niger

Delta, Government is still engaging

responsible leadership of the

Communities to help in identifying and

addressing genuine grievances of the

region. Our clean-up programme in

collaboration with the United Nations

is making satisfactory progress.

I am grateful to all the Governors and

other Political &Community leaders of

the Niger Delta States for their part in

bringing relative peace to the areas.

Finally let me again express my

heartfelt thanks to all Nigerians who

prayed for me during my illness last

year. I feel deeply humbled by your

prayers and good wishes and I am

more determined than ever to serve

you to the best of my ability.

Good morning. And I wish everyone a

Happy New Year.

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