*Says stability of Nigeria his priority
*Vows to identify, deal with influential people constituting nuisance
*Senator Ndume absent at Borno, Yobe elders meeting at Aso Rock
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari yesterday said that his administration will continue to work for the stability of Nigeria and will succeed over those who don’t need the unity of the country.
President Buhari also vowed to identify and deal with what he described as the small number of people with resource and influence that are constituting nuisance to the oneness of the country.
But the Senator representing Borno South and Chairman, Senate Committee on Army, Senator Ali Ndume, who has been a vocal voice from Borno State was conspicuously absent at the meeting.
President Buhari told his guests that the stability of the country was of paramount interest to him, adding that the federal government would continue to work towards it despite the actions of a few people.
In a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, President Buhari said, “We need this country. We will continue to work for its stability. I feel that whatever happens, we will continue to make it, and will keep on praying to God so that for those who feel that they don’t need Nigeria, we will succeed over their intentions and actions.”
He attributed the upheavals in some parts of the country to a few people with resources and influence, assuring that they will be identified and dealt with in due course.
He said, “I am confident that we will eventually convince the small number of people with resource and influence that are a nuisance to this great country. God willing, we will identify them, and deal with them. I am extremely concerned about your constituency like the rest of the country.”
The President noted the request for the upgrade and development of infrastructure in the states and assured that while he would do his best in acceding to the requests, he would, however, prioritise development in education.
“We are aware of the infrastructure deficit. Our priorities will be education because all our citizens know that children within a certain age must receive it otherwise if they miss it, the future is destroyed,” he said.
He expressed appreciation to the leaders for coming to terms with the positive improvement that has occurred in the states since the inception of the administration.
In his remarks, Professor Babagana Zulum, Governor of Borno State, said the leaders were in Abuja to thank the President for the tremendous improvement in their states and to intimate him with some of the prevailing socio-economic conditions.
Also speaking at the event, Architect Bunu Sheriff and Gambo Gubio expressed appreciation to the President as well as the armed forces for their commitment and sacrifices in bringing a new lease of life to the Northeast. They requested for completion of long-standing infrastructure and on-going projects in the states, especially roads.
They also called on the President to continue oil exploration in the Chad Basin initiated when he was the Minister of Petroleum in the 70s and the recharging of the Lake Chad which the President is passionate about.
Speaking to correspondents after the meeting, Governor Zulum said it was to thank the president and put forward requests for more troops and infrastructure for the northeast.
He said: “The Borno Elders’ Forum and Yobe Elders’ Forum met with Mr. President purposely to convey their appreciation to the federal government, under the distinguished leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari and all the efforts he has made to address insecurity in the region.
“Again, they have raised their concerns to Mr president with a view to solving them, infrastructural deficits in Borno and Yobe States and the entire northern region. They have also requested from the federal government sustained military operations which have been yielding fruitful results in recent times.
“So far so good, the president has responded positively. The government and people of Borno and Yobe state that he will do everything possible within the available resources to ensure the sustainability of the ongoing military operations in the region.
“In terms of improving the social-economic situation of the region, we have also requested increased government support in terms of humanitarian support, in terms of education and others.
“The bottom line is that we came here to thank Mr President and to ensure increased military and para-military presence in Borno and Yobe states and indeed the entire northeast subregion with a view to ensuring the security of the nation.”
Also speaking, former Borno State governor, Senator Shettima disclosed that President Buhari expressed appreciation for the progress achieved during his time as governor and assured that all efforts to restore normality to the northeast would be sustained.
Also on the delegation were Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State, former Governor Kashmir Shettima of Borno State, as well as senators, traditional rulers and elders in the two states.
The Inspector-General of Police, IGP Mohammed Adamu, National Security Adviser, NSA Major General Babagana Monguno (retd) and the Director-General of State Security Service, Yusuf Bichi also attended the meeting.
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