Full text of President Muhammadu Buhari’s New Year message to Nigerians

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My dear Compatriots,


I am happy to welcome you to the beginning of a New Year in our beloved country Nigeria.

buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari

I felicitate with you today at a time when our nation is witnessing a
new and impressive turnaround in our security and socio-economic
situation.

I know you will join me to, once again, congratulate the heroic and
gallant efforts of our military and other security agencies on their
remarkable successes to rid the nation of terrorism.

Following the successful capture of Sambisa Forest, spearheaded by
troops of Operation Lafiya Dole, we have entered a new phase in our
battle against our common enemy, Boko Haram.


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When we see our beloved 21 Chibok girls reuniting with their families
and community for Christmas, it gives us the hope that those who are
still in captivity will one day return to the loving arms of family,
friends and well-wishers.

I urge all Nigerians to be on the alert and watch out for strange
figures settling in their communities, and report to the nearest
security agencies, as our armed forces intensify the pursuit of fleeing
terrorists from the captured Sambisa Forest.

Misguided elements who decided to take up arms against constituted
authorities must be brought to face the full weight of the law.

The support of all Nigerians to security agencies to enable them
successfully execute their mandate is crucial in our bid to effectively
secure our country.

Seeing the joyful return of thousands of Internally Displaced Persons
(IDPs) to Damasak town in Borno State, following the reopening of
Maiduguri/Gubio/Damasak road in Northern Borno on December 25, 2016,
reassured us that the voluntary return of IDPs in other parts of the
country is imminent.

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The Federal Government will spare no effort in seeing to the
resettlement and rehabilitation of the unfortunate victims of terrorism
and insurgency. I urge state governments, privileged Nigerians, donor
agencies and countries to redouble their contributions towards this
goal.

Government is aware of some mistakes and wrongdoings in handling the
affairs of IDPs. We are taking measures to correct those mistakes and
punish the culprits.

In this New Year, I want to reassure all Nigerians that our defence
and security forces are more than ever before ready to perform their
constitutional role of protecting lives and property in the country; and
we will surely overcome all other forms of security challenges.

The lingering security issues in several states will be frontally
addressed. These ugly crises cannot be allowed to fester as they strain
the unifying bonds of brotherhood and neighbourliness. Some sections of
the press and some politicians should avoid provocative and inflammatory
statements, while the government is painstakingly trying to find
solutions to our challenges.

I want to remind you on the first day of this New Year of an African
proverb that says “it is easy to break a broomstick but not a bunch”.
Nigeria is a bunch and is more than equal to troublemakers.

I have interacted with a broad spectrum of Nigerians, the old and the
young, and they have told me unequivocally that they believe in the
unity and stability of Nigeria.

The year 2017 provides an opportunity for us to build on those
aspects of our national life that unite us. We are courageous,
hardworking, hospitable, steadfast and resilient people, even in the
face of difficulties.


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These are the attributes that define us and have for years confounded
the pessimists who do not believe in our continued existence as a
united and indivisible nation. We are a remarkable nation that has
succeeded in harnessing our multiple diversities for national
development. We must continue to support and tolerate one another and
live together as one.

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We will continue to pursue peace initiatives in the Niger Delta as I
again, call on our brothers in that region who have taken to violent
disruptions of economic infrastructure to come to the negotiating table.

As for our brothers and sisters of the Shia Community, we urge them,
too, to embrace peace. They must accept the laws of the country they
live in. They cannot be islands by themselves. At the same time, the law
enforcement agencies must treat them humanely and according to the rule
of law.

On our part, in the past 20 months since our inauguration on May 29,
2015, we have focused our energies to turn around the economy, create
jobs, fight corruption, and transform agriculture to replace oil and gas
as a major revenue earner for the nation. I am encouraged that we are
getting things right.

The agricultural revolution has begun. Farmers in different parts of
the country are experiencing bumper harvests; states are getting into
strategic partnership towards attaining self-sufficiency in rice, and
the era of over-dependence on oil for foreign exchange revenues is
gradually waning. I am optimistic that the CHANGE we all yearned for in
voting this administration to power in 2015 will manifest more and be
sustained in different sectors, particularly agriculture, in 2017.

As you may be aware, our economic recovery and growth plan in 2017 is
anchored on optimizing the use of local content and empowering local
businesses.

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In pursuit of this administration’s philosophy, we will continue to
appeal that we buy “Made In Nigeria” goods. Like I said during the 2017
Budget presentation to the National Assembly, farmers, small and
medium-sized manufacturers, agro-allied businesses, dressmakers,
entertainers and technology start-ups, will remain the true drivers of
our economic future. They are the engine of our economic recovery and
their needs underpin our Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.

On job creation, this administration will sustain existing programmes
aimed at lifting a vast number of our youth out of poverty, while at
the same time creating the opportunities for people to fend for
themselves.

Our determination to wrestle corruption to the ground remains
unshaken. This fight, which will be guided by respect for the rule of
law and due process, will not spare anybody or organ of government.

It
is a collective undertaking and resolve that must be seen to its logical
conclusion in spite of certain distractions. The fate of our country
lies partly in the success of this campaign. It will be unthinkable on
my part to allow the boat of this crucial campaign promise capsize
mid-stream.

I thank you for the public support for our administration’s efforts
to transform Nigeria. I assure you again that the current pains are
temporary and will ease when the economic seeds in gestation begin to
bloom to fruition. I urge you to continue to support this administration
in its effort to transform Nigeria for the good of all.

I wish you a Happy New Year, 2017.

MUHAMMADU BUHARI
President, Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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