The President remarked that he took over the country’s leadership at a time when morale was at its lowest ebb in all strata of the Nigerian society, with the nation functioning as a rudderless ship.
Buhari made these comments in a keynote address at the 15th National Productivity Day and conferment of National Productivity Order of Merit Award organised by the National Productivity Centre in Abuja.
According to him, Nigerians had recognized that while inadequacy of resources is one of the nation’s problems, “mismanagement of the little we have, largely through corrupt practices and impunity, are the more impactful.
“To get to the Promised Land as a nation, we must leave no stone unturned in taking the battle to the doorsteps of corruption. Corruption is dangerous and cancerous to the nation and this administration is not prepared to stay in bed with it. We are therefore resolute in our commitment to fight corruption in all its virulent forms, in all facets of our national life.”
The President, who was represented by Dr. Clement Illoh, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity, said when he assumed office, people were completely disillusioned with government.
“I want to commend the organizers of today’s ceremony for the choice of the theme, ‘The Role of Productivity in the Change Agenda,’ which is apt and germane. As you are all aware, this administration assumed office at a time when morale was at its lowest ebb at all strata of the Nigerian society and the nation was functioning as a rudderless ship,” he said.
“There was clear evidence that the system was not working the way it should and the people had even lost confidence and hope in the government hence the inevitable clamour for the much-needed change.
“I must commend the usual great resilience of our people and the speed at which they woke up from slumber to respond positively to the realities of our time. Given the right political leadership and judicious management of human and material resources, the Nigeria of our dream can still be attained.
“This is the onerous task that this administration has taken upon itself and we shall not rest on our oars in the quest to achieve this objective. All we need is your support, patience, loyalty, patriotism and perseverance.”
He pointed out that the mission of his administration was to move Nigeria forward and make it a strategic and proactive state through pragmatic and productivity-conscious programmes.
“We want to rebuild Nigeria into a competitive, virile, strong and productive economy; a state whose citizens are creative, innovative, responsive, accountable, incorruptible, patriotic and diligent,” he said.
In consonance with the resolve of this administration to chart a new course for good governance in Nigeria, he said a great deal of premium has been placed on making change a reality in all spheres of our national life, especially through productivity improvement initiatives.
…I won’t tolerate extortion of applicants in police recruitment
President Muhammadu Buhari has given a stern warning that he will not tolerate any irregularities or extortion of money from unemployed Nigerians in the forthcoming recruitment into the police.
Buhari sounded this warning during a meeting with officials of the Ministry of Police Affairs and the Police Service Commission in the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Chief Mike Okiro, Chairman of Police Service Commission (PSC), in a related development, said that no fewer than 19,000 vacancies currently exist in Nigeria Police Force.
Still, the President condemned the trend in which applicants are made to pay bribes before being accepted into the police in the past saying it is totally unacceptable.
Mr. Femi Adesina, Presidential spokesman, quoted the President as telling the officials at the meeting that those in charge of recruitment and training in the police must be above board and eschew every form of extortion and underhand dealing.
“You must ensure that the recruitment process is transparent. Those who will conduct the recruitment must be above board. It should not be heard that they receive gratification or extort money from those who want to enlist in the police,” Buhari cautioned.
The President also directed the inspector-general of police to prune the number of policemen attached to dignitaries and redeploy all policemen withdrawn from that role to regular police duties.
Then he advised the PSC to review the current structure of the police and make recommendations on how the problem whereby policemen remain stagnant on a rank for many years can be addressed to boost the morale of serving policemen.
Adesina noted that, earlier, Dr James Obiegbu, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Police Affairs, briefing the President, listed inadequate number of police personnel, dwindling finances and non-rehabilitation of police training schools as some of the challenges facing the force.
PSC Chairman Sir Mike Okiro said that, for effective policing, the country needs to have more than the 305,579 policemen and women which it has at present.
He thanked President Buhari for approving the recruitment of 10,000 additional policemen and women earlier this week.
Okiro later told journalists after the meeting with the President that 19,000 vacancies currently exist in the police service.
The former IGP said the vacancies emanated from non-replacement of personnel who had either retired, died or were dismissed from service over the years.
He said out of about 21,000 vacancies that existed from those occurrences, only about 1,500 had been filled, leaving a balance of 19,000.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on Monday given the police authorities the nod to recruit 10,000 policemen and officers.
Okiro said, “We talked about recruitment of police officers. Over the years, more than 21,000 police officers have retired, some dismissed, and some died between 2010 and today. Of this number, only about 1,500 have been replaced leaving a deficit of a very large number.
“So we discussed this with Mr. President. Of course, you are aware that a few days ago, Mr. President said the police were going to embark on recruitment of 10,000 people. We discussed with him the modalities and how to ensure that the 10,000 people are recruited to maintain the security of Nigeria.”
The PSC chair further noted that the recruitment of 10,000 policemen approved by President Buhari earlier in the week may take a little while to be effected due to some procedures that need to be put in place before the exercise begins.
“There will be procedures and guidelines before recruitment takes place. So when all these things have taken place, the i’s dotted and t’s crossed, recruitment will start,” he stated.
Dr Obiegbu, who also gave an insight into the meeting of delegation with the President, said the welfare of policemen and officers dominated their discussions.
He said, “All through the discussions, the President was interested in the welfare of officers. He was interested in the issues concerning their emotions, issues concerning their placing.
“He was concerned with everything that concerns them. He promised that he will continue to support the police family to ensure that the police are well provided for and their welfare taken care of.”
…End of Boko Haram is in sight
President Muhammadu Buhari has declared that given the added vigour with which the war against the Boko Haram sect is now being prosecuted by Nigeria and her allies, the end of the insurgents is close.
According to him, with improved logistics, equipment and training for soldiers and higher morale among troops on the frontlines, a rapid end to the insurgency could be expected.
The President expressed this belief when he granted audience to Mr Mousa Faki Mahamat, Chadian Minister of Foreign Affairs and special envoy of President Idris Deby at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Mr. Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, said Buhari noted that Nigeria and Chad must be prepared to make more sacrifices to end the scourge of Boko Haram since they are at the “very heart of the insurgency.”
“We will sustain our effort, and the insurgents will be defeated soon,” Adesina quoted President Buhari as vowing.
Earlier, the special envoy said that President Deby appreciated the leadership being shown by President Buhari in the war against terrorism.
He said, “We also appreciate the diligence shown in appointing a commander for the Multinational Joint Task Force, and President Deby believes that the fight will end in a few months. Our people rely on us to end the insurgency because economic development is being hampered.
“This fight has to come to an end. My coming here is to reaffirm our full commitment. Beyond the number of troops earlier announced, Chad is still ready to commit more soldiers. The enemy is weakened already. Let’s stand firm and neutralize them.”