Things are looking up once again across the Nigerian landscape. In the past few weeks, it has been one success story after the other. The Muhammadu Buhari-led administration is revving up the engine in the areas of security, infrastructural renewal, and the economy. Not even the most virulent critics can pretend otherwise anymore.
The avalanche of positive stories has brought some palpable sense of hope to Nigerians. The hope is not misplaced. The optics are sterling. President Buhari was physically present in Lagos on Thursday, June 10, 2021 to commission the Lagos – Ibadan Standard Gauge Rail. The inauguration of that huge project is a further attestation to the commitment of the present administration to reinvigorate the rail transportation system, which had been in comatose for many decades.
Combined with the earlier commissioned Itakpe to Warri rail line, the Abuja to Kaduna rail and the about to commence rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt to Maiduguri rail and Kaduna to Kano Standard Gauge Rail, there is no gainsaying the fact that President Buhari has achieved what many thought impossible.
The one-day visit to Lagos also witnessed the launch of multi-billion-naira security equipment by the President under the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Strategy code-named Deep Blue, to secure the country’s maritime domain and the entire Gulf of Guinea, which have been troubled by pirates and other criminal elements.
Some of the security assets include two Special Mission Vessels; three Special Mission Helicopters; 17 Interceptor Boats; two Special Mission Aerial Aircraft, 18 Armoured Vehicles, to mention but a few. With the waterways safe for business, the Nigerian economy would be the better for it.
Yet another big win for this government on the economic front was the long-awaited kick-off of the multi-billion-dollar NLNG Train 7, which was stalled for many years under the PDP administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, but is now given new life by the current APC administration, due largely to the political will of President Muhammadu Buhari. Incidentally, he spearheaded Nigeria’s first foray in LNG business in 1978 as the Minister of Petroleum.
Under this government, the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company, which hitherto operated at a loss, has also moved from a loss of N14.6m in 2014 to N14.3bn profit in 2018, while its turnover improved from N17.8bn in 2014 to N61.4bn in 2018.
The aviation sector is not left out of the good news that many Nigerians have been savouring lately, with a new wave of private and public sector investments in the sector. United Nigeria Airlines debuted earlier in 2021, with ValueJet, Green Africa, Cally Air and others set to commence operations in the coming months, in addition to those inaugurated in the last three years. All together, these new airlines would launch dozens of new aircraft into the market, creating much-needed jobs and economic opportunities for Nigerians. A booming aviation industry is a testimony to an economy on an upward swing.
Would this have been possible without a conducive operating environment put in place by this government? Definitely not! Need we add that this is the same government that carried out a massive turnaround of the nation’s major airport terminals, with the Nnamdi Azikwe and the Port Harcourt International Airport in Abuja and Port Harcourt respectively already commissioned. The Enugu International Airport witnessed massive transformation in a record time. Reformative works are almost completed at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos and Aminu Kano International Airport in Kano.
On security, the fear that has gripped the nation in recent times is receding while confidence is being renewed as the security agencies are chasing down the criminals, taking the battle to the bandits, unknown gun men, kidnappers, and other criminal elements who have been holding the country by the jugular and turning Nigeria to a killing field.
From the South-East to the South-South up to the North-East and North-West, bandits, insurgents, kidnappers and other criminal elements are being given bloodied noses, in fulfilment of President Buhari’s pledge to speak to these undesirable elements in “a language they would understand.”
In the South-East, for instance, members of the IPOB that have been terrorising many communities, razing down public properties including police stations and killing security agents in the process, have almost been completely decimated.
For the North-West where kidnapping and banditry are prevalent, the gallant troops are giving the perpetrators a hot chase and neutralising them in large numbers. Terrorists in the North-East are also feeling the heat as the military continue to decimate them. We commend our gallant security personnel and call on all Nigerians to support Nigeria’s armed forces for the war against insurgency, banditry, kidnapping, abduction and all crimes to succeed in Nigeria.
The next few months would witness even more progress on all fronts. With the additional security assets under way for the military to boost its operations and ensure the security of lives and property, coupled with the country’s quick exit from recession occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic and the gradual return to normalcy on the economic front, this nation is surely on a steady march towards economic and political renaissance.
Barr. Ismail Ahmed, Mr. Lanre Issa-Onilu, Mr. Tolu Ogunlesi, Mr. Salihu Moh. Lukman
June 22, 2021