The Presidency has expressed disappointment in the Niger Delta Militants as attacks continue despite overtures to ensure peace in the region.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu decried the situation in an interview with Kano-based radio station, Express Radio.
According to Shehu, the militant groups have not reciprocated the government’s good gesture. This is despite the Federal Government’s good faith in pursuing dialogue with the Niger Delta stakeholders.
“Despite the government’s practical demonstration of goodwill by bringing the parties or stakeholders to the round table, the militant groups have continued to blow up national economic assets.”
Shehu admitted that the vandalism is causing enormous hardships on innocent Nigerians. It has caused a huge decline on oil production output and massive losses of revenue. This in turn, badly affect the ability of governments at all levels to meet their basic obligations, including payment of salaries.
However, Shehu charged Niger Delta leaders at all levels to make efforts to ensure normalcy returns to the region. He urged stakeholders to exert every influence they have to stop the violence and economic sabotage.
He also appealed to the militants to maintain peace in the region as the President seeks a permanent solution to their problems.
“We must keep national interest above all and give priority to eschewing violence and destruction.”
FG Committed To Infrastructural Development
Shehu further said that Nigeria is advancing in infrastructure development. This is a result of the heavy investments of the government in the construction and repair of highways, railways and power generating plants across the country.
He said administration had chosen to fast track projects related to infrastructure. This is in order to pump money into the economy and pull out of recession.
He said N750bn has been released for capital projects in the last five months. Also, counterpart funds for the take-off of the $11bn Kano-Lagos rail project had been paid.
The presidential spokesman added that a number of projects existing on paper are now being activated. He cited the Kano-Katsina dual road project as an example.
“Kano-Katsina dual highway was awarded three years ago by the last administration. They didn’t pay a kobo for its start-up. President Buhari just paid money for the first tranche of 75km and work has begun.”
Shehu explained the essence of infrastructure in the country’s economic and industrial take-off. He described it as the equivalent of the arteries forming the bloodstream in the body.
He further noted that without infrastructure, the country will not witness growth.