President Muhammadu Buhari has said that despite the efforts of his government to stem down the rising waves of insecurity in the country, some unscrupulous elements are bent on frustrating his plans.
The President expressed his frustration on Friday when he met with members of Professor Doyin Salami led Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC), in Abuja.
He said: “The President lamented that despite the closure of the borders to control the smuggling of arms and ammunition, “Some people are mercilessly against this country. We closed the borders to control the smuggling of petroleum products, and check the influx of smuggled goods, arms, and ammunition”.
“That was when the Comptroller General of Customs called me, saying 40 tankers laden with petrol had been impounded. I told him to sell the fuel, sell the trucks, and put the money in the treasury”.
He charged the leadership at every level to go back to the basics, noting that a bottom-up approach was necessary, from ward to local council, states, and federal.
He decried the situation in which some unscrupulous people tried to undermine every policy of the government, irrespective of the good it was meant to achieve for the country.
He said they still brought arms and ammunition into the country, brought in rice in vehicles and motorcycles. I said shoot anyone found illegally with AK-47, yet they haven’t stopped. People must show consideration for their own country.”
President Buhari pledged that the Federal Government will focus on the greater development of irrigation facilities in the country, and encourage more people into agriculture.
According to him, agriculture was a good way for the country to overcome economic challenges confronting it, stressing: “We need to go back to the land. Technology is doing away with petroleum, but we are lucky we have other resources; Gas, vast arable land, which we are not using enough.”
Prof Salami, in his presentation, told the President that only 2% of land under cultivation is irrigated, recommending that apart from government efforts; incentives are needed for private people to enter the sector.
PEAC noted that the global economy has continued to improve as COVID infections drop and the roll-out of vaccination intensifies, adding that the Nigerian economy, though out of recession, remains fragile with inflation rising, unemployment high, and external account weak.
“We must urgently address the challenges of rising prices,” he said.
The committee recommended that a decisive end to all forms of insecurity in the country, mobilization of resources for investment, hastened implementation of agricultural reform policies, the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) as a basis for revitalizing the industry, poverty reduction, employment generation, and incentives for private investment in irrigation, to promote all-year-round farming.