President Muhammadu Buhari has attributed rise in insecurity cases across Nigeria to activities of arms runners and smugglers, saying the unrest being experienced recently could not be divorced from resolve criminals bent on seeing the country burn.
He admitted that despite placing ban on smugglers activities and closing land borders, the criminals were still having a field day by continuing with their illicit businesses with reckless abandon such that was undermining the country’s anti-terrorism approach.
While regretting that their activities and accompanying worsening security situation were having great repercussions on Nigeria’s economy, Buhari urged leaders at all government tiers 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 elements were trying frantically to undermine every policy of government, irrespective of the good it was meant to achieve for the country.
“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.
“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,” Buhari said on Friday at State House, Abuja, during the 6th regular meeting with Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC), led by Prof. Doyin Salami.
Furthermore, the president said that his administration would focus on greater development of irrigation facilities in the country, and encourage more people into agriculture.
He added that agriculture was a good way for the country to overcome economic challenges confronting it, stressing that “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.”
The president gave the assurance while responding to disclosure by Salami, in his presentation, 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 submitted that the global economy has continued to improve as COVID infections drop and 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.
Policy, the economic advisory body said, “must urgently address the challenges of rising prices.”
Among other issues recommended by PEAC are; decisive end to all forms of insecurity in the country, mobilization of resources for investment, hastened implementation of agricultural reform policies, 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.