- Says Politicians are preoccupied with next elections
President Muhammadu Buhari at a meeting with British Prime Minister, Theresa May, on Monday at 10, Downing Street, London, United Kingdom, reaffirmed his commitment to fulfillment of his three policy thrusts in Nigeria.
In his conversation with the British Prime Minister, the Nigerian President stated: “We campaigned on three major issues, to secure the country, revive the economy and fight corruption.”
The President remarked: “We have elections next year, politicians are already pre-occupied with the polls, but I am bothered more about security and the economy.”
Buhari also admitted the policy error of his administration to erase the study of satyr from school curriculum in Nigeria, acknowledging the imperative to restore it. “People ought to know how they arrived where they are, if they would move forward. It was a mistake for us to have stopped the teaching of history as a subject in schools, but we are returning it to the curriculum now,” the President declared.
Buhari commended British companies like Unilever, Cadbury, and many others, “who have stood with Nigeria through thick and thin. Even when we fought a Civil War, they never left.”
He maintained: “But like Oliver Twist, we ask for more investments. We are encouraging more British companies to come to Nigeria. We appreciate the support you have given in training and equipping our military, particularly in the war against insurgency, but we want to also continue to work with you on trade and investment.”
President Buhari briefed Prime Minister May on the strides in agriculture, which he said has put Nigeria firmly on the road to food self-sufficiency.
“I am very pleased with the successes in agriculture,” he said, adding: “We have cut rice importation by about 90%, made lots of savings of foreign exchange, and generated employment. People had rushed to the cities to get oil money, at the expense of farming. But luckily, they are now going back to the farms. Even professionals are going back to the land. We are making steady progress on the road to food security,” the President said.
On education, President Buhari said more investment was being made, contending that, “people can look after themselves if they are well educated; adding, “In this age of technology, education is very important. We need well-staffed and well-equipped institutions to move into the next generation.”
President Buhari acknowledged the challenges of climate change and environmental degradation threatening several countries; he advocated the necessity of inter-basin water transfer from Congo Basin to Lake Chad in sub-Saharan Africa.
According to him: “The Lake Chad is now about 10% of its original size, and it is perhaps one of the reasons our youths dare both the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean, to get to Europe. But if there is inter-basin water transfer, about 40 million people in Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon, Chad, and other countries stand to benefit. I made the case during the Climate Change Summit in France. If Lake Chad is recharged, it will reduce the number of youths coming to Europe to increase social problems. We brought back about 4,000 people from Libya recently. Almost all of them were below 30, and Libya was not their final destination. They were headed to Europe.”
Prime Minister May, in her remarks, assured that Britain would continue to work with Nigeria in the areas of training and equipping the military.
She was particular about abduction of young schoolgirls by Boko Haram, noting that Britain would continue to give Nigeria needed assistance.
The Prime Minister said the Buhari administration has “been making good progress on the economy,” and urged it to maintain the focus, despite approaching elections, and increase in political activities.
On education and climate change, she declared: “Good grounding in education is good. It is important to equip young people for today’s world. It is also a good bastion and defence against modern slavery. The issue of the environment and climate change is very important, because of its impact on many countries in the Commonwealth. Stability at home is important, to curb illegal migration.”
Prime Minister May, who commended President Buhari for the much he has been doing on improving trade and business for Nigeria, noted that it was also time to boost intra-Commonwealth trade.