President Muhammadu Buhari has lamented what he described as the ‘mercilessness of some Nigerians’ to development, pleading with citizens to be considerate towards the country.
Buhari spoke on Friday, May 7, 2021, after receiving briefings from the Professor Doyin Salami-led Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC) at its 6th regular meeting in the State House, Abuja.
He decried the situation in which some unscrupulous people tried to undermine every policy of government, irrespective of the good it was meant to achieve for the country
According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, Buhari recalled that despite efforts to regulate importation and proliferation of some commodities by shutting land borders for more than a year, some Nigerians still found ways to circumvent the barriers to perpetuate smuggling of illicit commodities.
“Some people are mercilessly against this country,” the President said. “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,” he said.
The President also pledged the Federal Government would focus on greater development of irrigation facilities and encourage more people into agriculture.
Buhari said 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.”
The President was responding to disclosure by Prof 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.
On the security challenges, which PEAC said was having great repercussions on the economy, Buhari charged leadership at every level to go back to the basics, noting a bottom-up approach was necessary, from ward, to local council, states and Federal.
PEAC submitted that the global economy has continued to improve as COVID infections drop and roll-out of vaccination intensifies, adding that the 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.”