President Buhari’s Democracy Day Speech On June 12, 2021 (Full Text) 

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President Buhari’s Democracy Day Speech On June 12, 2021
(Full Text)
SPEECH BY HIS EXCELLENCY, MUHAMMADU BUHARI,
PRESIDENT AND COMMANDER IN CHIEF OF THE ARMED
FORCES FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA ON THE
OCCASION OF COMMEMORATION AND CELEBRATION
OF DEMOCRACY DAY ON 12TH JUNE, 2021
Fellow Nigerians,
I join you all today to commemorate and celebrate our
Democracy Day. It is a celebration of freedom and a
victory for one people, one country and one Nigeria.
2. As with all democracies we will always be going
through improvement processes in our desire to reach the
goal of a mature democracy, a strong, evolved and
integrated nation state to be reckoned with globally.
3. In the last two years we have witnessed and overcome
a good number of testy challenges that would have
destroyed other nations especially relating to our
collective security.
4. The indefatigable CAN DO Spirit of the Nigerian has
sustained us and would keep pushing us to put these
challenges behind us.
5. Unfortunately some of these challenges came in the
shape of violent outrages leading to the loss of lives of
many of our dear compatriots and the destruction of some
of our infrastructure, including those devoted to improving
our democratic processes.
6. Once again, I want to render my sincere and heart-felt
condolences to the families and friends of our gallant
service men and women who lost their lives in the line of
duty and as a sacrifice to keep Nigeria safe.
7. I extend the same condolence to the families and
friends of our country men, women and children who were
unfortunate victims of such senseless arsons, kidnappings
and murders.
8. I also share the pains of families and direct victims of
ransom-seeking, kidnaped victims who went through
unimaginable trauma in the course of their forced
imprisonment.
9. Let me assure my fellow citizens that every incident,
however minor gives me great worry and concern and I
immediately order security agencies to swiftly but safely
rescue victims and bring perpetrators to justice.
Fellow Nigerians,
10. When you elected me as your President in 2015, you
did so knowing that I will put an end to the growing
insecurity, especially the insurgency in the North East, but
the unintended consequences of our scattering them in
the North East pushed them further in-country which is
what we are now facing and dealing with.
11. We will, by the Grace of God put an end to these
challenges too.
12. Unfortunately, like in most conflict situations, some
Nigerian criminals are taking undue advantage of a
difficult situation and profiteering therefrom with the
misguided belief that adherence to the democratic norms
handicaps this Administration from frontally and decisively
tackling them.
13. We are already addressing these obstacles and we will
soon bring some of these culprits to justice.
14. We are, at the same time addressing the twin
underlying drivers of insecurity namely poverty and youth
unemployment.
15. Interventions led by Government and the Central Bank
of Nigeria driving economic growth over the past 6 years
are targeted mostly to the agricultural, services,
infrastructure, power and health care sectors of the
economy.
16. In the Agricultural sector, for instance, the Anchor
Borrowers Programme resulted in sharp decline in the
nation’s major food import bill from $2.23billion in 2014 to
US$0.59billion by the end of 2018.
17. Rice import bill alone dropped from $1 billion to $18.5
million annually.
18. This initiative supported local production of rice,
maize, cotton and cassava. Government financed 2.5
million small-holder farmers cultivating about 3.2 million
hectares of farmland all over the country and created 10
million direct and indirect jobs.
19. Several other initiatives, namely AgriBusiness/Small
and Medium Enterprise Investment Scheme, the Non-oil
Export stimulation Facility, the Targeted Credit Facilities
operated across the 774 Local Governments.
20. In the manufacturing sector the CBN – BOI N200
billion facility financed the establishment and operations
of 60 new industrial hubs across the country, creating an
estimated 890,000 direct and indirect jobs.
21. The CBN’s N50 billion Textile Sector intervention
Facility increased capacity utilization of ginneries from
30% to nearly 90%.
22. The Economic Sustainability Plan – our rebound plan
for the COVID-19 pandemic developed in 2020 is currently
being executed. The plan is primarily focused on the non-
oil sector, which has recorded phenomenal growth
contributing over 90% to the GDP growth in Q1 2021.
23. Though marginal we have recorded GDP growth over
two quarters; Q2 2020 and Q1 2021. This is evidence of a
successful execution of the ESP by the Federal
Government.
24. My vision of pulling 100 million poor Nigerians out of
poverty in 10 years has been put into action and can be
seen in the National Social Investment Programme, a first
in Africa and one of the largest in the world where over
32.6m beneficiaries are taking part. We now have a
National Social register of poor and vulnerable
households, identified across 708 local government areas,
8,723 wards and 86,610 communities in the 36 States and
the FCT.
25. Our conditional cash transfer program has benefited
over 1.6 million poor and vulnerable households
comprising more than 8 million individuals. This provides a
monthly stipend of N10,000 per household.
26. I have also recently approved the National Poverty
Reduction with Growth Strategy Plan that augments
existing plans to further reduce poverty in Nigeria.
27. As at the end of 2020, the Development Bank of
Nigeria had disbursed 324 billion Naira in loans to more
than 136,000 MSMEs, through 40 participating Financial
Institutions. I am to note that 57% of these beneficiaries
are women while 27% are the youth.
28. We are able to do all these and still accelerate our
infrastructure development through sensible and
transparent borrowing, improved capital inflow, improving
and increasing revenue through capturing more tax bases
and prudent management of investment proceeds in the
Sovereign Wealth Fund.
Fellow Nigerians,
29. Our infrastructure revolution continues with key
projects attaining critical milestones under the
Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund; The Second
Niger Bridge, The Lagos- Ibadan Expressway and the
Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano Expressway.
30. I have also approved the establishment of Infraco Plc,
a world-class infrastructure development vehicle wholly
focused on Nigeria with a capital structure of N15 trillion.
31. The rail system is not left out as the Itakpe-Warri
standard gauge rail was completed and commissioned 33
years after construction began. The Lagos-Ibadan double
track railway line which I have just commissioned has
commenced operations.
32. We are focused on ensuring that our infrastructure
drive is key to economic growth and one that can be felt
by every Nigerian. Building critical infrastructure in our
ports is also opening up opportunities for the Nigerian
economy.
33. My approval for 4 new seaports using a Public-Private-
Partnership approach is hinged on growing the Nigerian
economy. These four sea ports; Lekki Deep Sea Port,
Bonny Deep Sea Port, Ibom Deep Sea Port and Warri Deep
Sea port will create massive job opportunities and foreign
investment inflows.
34. We have worked at deepening our Eastern ports
leading to success like having three container ships berth
at Calabar port, a first in 11 years. Similarly, on October 30
2019, an LPG tanker operated by NLNG berthed in Port
Harcourt, the first time an LPG ship is berthing at any of
the Eastern Ports.
35. As we invest in these new assets, we have also made
strides in ensuring that they are secured and protected. In
this regard I am also pleased to note the launch of the
NIMASA Deep Blue project – which is an Integrated
National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure
that I recently commissioned. This initiative is designed to
add to the layer of security we have to safeguard our
maritime sector.
Dear Nigerians,
36. I will be the first to admit that in spite of our efforts
and achievements which are there for all to see, there is
still much more to be done and we are doing our best in
the face of scarce resources and galloping population
growth rate that consistently outstrips our capacity to
provide jobs for our populace. Our over-all economic
target of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10
years is our goal notwithstanding COVID-19.
37. In the last two years we lifted 10.5 million people out
of poverty – farmers, small-scale traders, artisans, market
women and the like.
38. I am very convinced that this 100 million target can be
met and this informed the development of a National
poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy. The specific
details of this accelerated strategy will be unveiled shortly.
39. In the last one year, Nigeria and the whole world faced
COVID-19 for which no one was fully prepared.
40. Our response to the pandemic involved making hard
choices in balancing livelihoods and public health
concerns. You are all living witnesses to how successful
this has been due to a number of pro-active measures put
in place. Our response to COVID-19 is globally acclaimed.
41. We were able to ensure that the various lockdown
measures did not impact too negatively on the ability of
ordinary Nigerians to continue sustaining their livelihoods.
42. During the pandemic, we disbursed N5,000 to 1 million
Nigerians using a Rapid Response Register and advanced
N20,000 to 750,000 beneficiaries of the Conditional Cash
Transfer Progamme and provided 1.37 million Nigerians
with palliatives from CACOVID.
43. At the same time the Federal Government released
109,000 metric tonnes of food reserve stocks and 70,000
metric tonnes of grains to the poor and vulnerable in all 36
states of the federation.
44. In addition, Government reduced interest rates from
9% to 5% for struggling businesses and extended credit
facilities to 548,345 beneficiaries.
Fellow Nigerians,
45. When this administration decided to change our
Democracy Day from 29th May to June 12th in my first
tenure, it was not only to honour the sacrifices of the men
and women of our country who fought for the return to
democracy but also to demonstrate our commitment to
satisfy the aspirations of the people and creating an
environment for democracy to be an accepted way of life.
46. As your President, I remain committed to providing an
enabling environment for a free, fair and credible electoral
system under my tenure.
47. However, you need to play your part by getting
involved at any level you can supporting a democratic
system that works for all and not for a section or a select
few and demand accountability from your elected leaders.
48. My commitment to bequeathing a sustainable
democratic culture remains resolute, my pursuit of a fair
society remains unshaken and my desire to see that
Nigeria remains a country for each and every one of us
has never been stronger.
49. In responding to the challenges that this period
imposes on us, Government also recognises the need to
acknowledge notions of marginalisation and agitations for
constitutional amendments among various segments of
our population.
50. While this government is not averse to constitutional
reform as part of our nation building process, everyone
must understand that the primary responsibility for
constitutional amendments lies with the National
Assembly.
51. This body which, as I said, is the arm of government
responsible for constitutional changes has concluded the
preliminary stages of amending and improving our
constitution in a way that the majority of Nigerians will be
happy with.
52. Government is, however, willing to play a critical role
in the constitutional amendment process without usurping
the powers of the National Assembly in this regard.
53. As a nation we have come very far from where we
started and we are getting incrementally closer to where
we ought to be.
54. Overcoming the present challenges is but one of a
necessary process that we have to undergo as a nation so
that we can come out stronger. The day I joined the
Nigerian Army I was prepared to lay down my life for
Nigeria.
55. As your President I remain ever committed to
upholding and defending Nigeria’s Corporate existence.
56. In adhering to the Fundamental Objectives and
Directive Principles of State Policy notably section 14(2)
(b) I shall do all within my power to ensure that the
Security and welfare of the people remain the primary
purpose of government.
57. I have, throughout my tenure, provided the security
agencies with all they require relative to available
resources and will be providing more as the dynamics
unfold to put an end to our security problems.
58. My strong belief in the Nigerian spirit gives me
comfort that we are facing these challenges with renewed
commitment to keep our country one.
59. I thank you for your patience and attention and more
importantly your resolve to join hands in making Nigeria
the country of our dream.
Happy Democracy Day! God Bless us All, God Bless the
Federal Republic of Nigeria.