President Muhammadu Buhari has vowed to re-energise and reorganise the country’s security apparatus with a view to enhancing their “capacity to engage, push back and dismantle” the operations of Boko Haram and others threatening the country’s security.
He made the vow in his 18-minute New Year broadcast in which he, however, remained silent on widespread demands to allow the service chiefs go, having reached the retirement age – in both age and years of service – and having failed woefully to secure the country.
Buhari said: “The year 2021 will indeed be a year where we will work to reinforce the hopes of fellow Nigerians in the vision of a united and progressive Nigeria.
“Some of the key priority areas we would direct our attention and strengths to include: re-energising and reorganising the security apparatus and personnel of the armed forces and the police with a view to enhance their capacity to engage, push back and dismantle the operations of both internal and external extremist and criminal groups waging war against our communities in some parts of the country.”
The President reviewed the outgone year, 2020, which he described as “difficult”. He paid tribute to “those who could not make it” and thanked God for seeing the bulk of Nigerians into the New Year.
Reflecting on youth anger as demonstrated through the October 2020 #EndSARS protests, Buhari reaffirmed his commitment to Nigerians, especially the youth, who he said need “collective encouragement and support”.
“In securing this nation we need to secure the future of our youth…In this regard, we will partner with the legislature to develop an enabling environment to turn their passions into ideas that can be supported, groomed and scaled across regions.
“This will create vast opportunities in fintech, agriculture, business process startups and in the entertainment industry,” he said.
On the economy, the President said it is being diversified and infrastructure is being rebuilt, while his administration is putting reforms in place in the power sector to significantly expand generation and distribution.
His words: “Our focus is on revamping the economy through the national economic diversification agenda that supports the primary goal of national food self-sufficiency.
“This has helped reduce the growing food-related inflationary figures and have in considerable measure positively impacted our food security status during the long months of the pandemic lockdown.
“As an administration, we are currently undertaking a series of special interventions designed to boost job creation and support the entrepreneurial drive of our youths.
“With the recent opening of our borders, we expect that the pent-up demand of legitimate cross-border and international trade will boost the fortunes of the many small businesses and agricultural enterprises that depend on Nigeria’s trade and commerce.
“The message to our West African neighbours is that Nigeria is once again fully open for those willing to conduct business in a fair and equitable way.”
The President wished Nigerians a happy 2021.