Full Speech: President Buhari says: “people responsible for the fuel scarcity during this festive period will not go unpunished” in his New year National broadcast his morning
President Muhammadu Buhari gave his 2018 New Year’s National broadcast this morning.
In the speech, the President had very strong words for those who may
have been behind the recent fuel scarcity that the nation experienced
saying, ‘I am determined to get to the root of this collective
blackmail of all Nigerians and ensure that whichever groups are behind
this manipulated hardship will be prevented from doing so again.
Such unpatriotism will not divert the Administration from the course we
have set ourselves’.
Read the full speech below…
I join my fellow citizens this morning to welcome and celebrate the
New Year 2018. This year promises to be pivotal in our quest for
Unfortunately, I am saddened to acknowledge that for many
this Christmas and New Year holidays have been anything but merry and
happy. Instead of showing love, companionship and charity, some of our
compatriots chose this period to inflict severe hardship on us all by
creating unnecessary fuel scarcity across the country.
The consequence was that not many could travel and the few who did
had to pay exorbitant transport fares. This is unacceptable given that
NNPC had taken measures to ensure availability at all depots. I am
determined to get to the root of this collective blackmail of all
Nigerians and ensure that whichever groups are behind this manipulated
hardship will be prevented from doing so again.
Such unpatriotism will not divert the Administration from the course
we have set ourselves. Our government’s watch word and policy thrust is
CHANGE. We must change our way of doing things or we will stagnate and
be left behind in the race to lift our people out of poverty and into
My address to fellow Nigerians this morning is devoted mainly to
informing you about the intense efforts this Administration is putting
to address our country’s huge infrastructural deficit.
We are going to make significant in-roads in advancing road, rail and power projects across the country.
The Ministry of Power, Works and Housing is one of the drivers
of this Government’s commitment to renew and increase Nigeria’s stock of
infrastructure in order to achieve global economic
competitiveness as targeted under the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.
With regards to Railways, we have set ourselves ambitious targets.
Already in construction stage is the Lagos-Kano Standard Gauge
The line should reach Ibadan from Lagos by the end of this year and
will carry two million passengers per year and five million tons of
cargo will be transported every year giving a substantial boost to the
Construction of the Kano – Kaduna segment is expected to commence
this year and reach Kaduna by the end of 2019. By the end of 2021 the
two ends will be joined so that we will have standard gauge railway
across the main North-South trading route.
The Abuja – Kaduna route will be boosted by additional rolling
stock next Thursday and will be able to handle one million commuters
At the same time I have approved and negotiations will be concluded
in the first part of this year for the Port Harcourt to
Maiduguri line covering Aba, Owerri, Umuahia, Enugu, Awka,
Abakaliki, Makurdi, Lafia, Jos, Bauchi, Gombe, Yola and Damaturu. The
Abuja to Itakpe line will go through Baro and terminates in Warri with construction of a new seaport at Warri.
Negotiations are also advanced for the construction ofother railway
lines, firstly from Kano to Maradi in Niger Republic passing through
Kazaure, Daura, Katsina, Jibiato Maradi.
Secondly, Lagos to Calabar the “Coastal Rail” through Ore, Benin,
Agbor, Asaba, Onitsha, Sapele, Ughelli, Warri, Yenagoa, Otuoke, Port
Harcourt, Aba, Uyo and Calabar. In the next few years, all these
Nigerian cities will be linked by functional modern rail systems, giving
enormous boost to the social and economic life of our people.
With respect to the Abuja Capital Light Rail, progress has reached
98% completion, as at 64% completion when we assumed office. Only test
runs remain before start of operations.
This train service will stimulate economic activities in the Federal
Capital and provide residents with an efficient and safe transportation
system. Twelve railway sub-stations around the capital over a
45.2 kilometre route will serve as a catalyst and a pull factor to the
economy of the area. The Light Rail System will reduce traffic
congestion and carbon emission in line with the Administration’s policy
on climate change.
Management of the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) has been
reconstituted and has been charged with a 12 week rapid intervention in
road repairs to cover all the geo-political zones. Government is
undertaking repairs and maintenance of 44 roads within the the six
Twenty five major highways will be funded under the N100b SUKUK
facility. Each geo-political zone will benefit by an equal amount of
N16.67b. The following major highways are to receive special attention:
a. Oyo – Ogbomosho,
b. Ofusu – Ore – Ajebandele – Shagamu,
c. Yenegoa Road Junction – Kolo Otuoke – Bayelsa Palm,
d. Enugu – Part Harcourt Dual Carrriage Way,
e. Onitsha – Enugu Expressway,
f. Kaduna Eastern Bypass,
g. Dualization of Kano – Maiduguri Road,
h. Dualization of Abuja – Lokoja – Benin Road,
i. Dualization of Suleja – Minna Road.
In addition, Government has approved work to start on the
re-construction of Abuja – Kaduna – Zaria – Kano roadwhich is in a state
of disrepair. Work will soon start and is expected to be completed in
More Nigerians across the country are experiencing improved power
supply to their homes and businesses. However, power remains a concern
to this governmentbecause too many people still do not have regular and
The Payment Assurance Guarantee Scheme which started in January 2016
has enabled the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trader to raise so far N701
billion to assure Generation Companies of at least 80% payment for any
power delivered to the national grid.
Consequently, generation has now reached 7,000MW. On December 8, 2017
the country achieved 5,155MW of power delivered to consumers, the
highest level ever recorded.
Several moribund projects have been revived. Repairs of Afam Power
Station added 110MW in 2017 and another 240MW will be added this year
through a private investment partnership.
Katsina Power Project is now being tested and producing 10MW of power
from wind for the first time in Nigeria. It should be fully
operational this year.
The Zungeru 700MW Hydroelectric Power Project, stalled by court cases
is due for completion in 2019. The transmission and other requirements
to operate the 30MW Gurara Phase 1 Hydroelectric Plant, the
40MW KashinbillaHydroelectric Plant and the 215 MW Kaduna Gas/LPG/Diesel
Power Plant will also be completed this year.
A landmark project, Mambilla Hydroelectric Power Project is at
last taking off. This project has been on the drawing Board for 40
years, but now the engineering, procurement and construction contract
for the 3,050MW project has been agreed with a Chinese joint venture
Company with a financing commitment from the government of China.
Completion is targeted for 2023.
As I mentioned earlier, the Transmission Company of Nigeria can now
distribute all the 7,000MW that can be generated. TCN and the Niger
Delta Holding Company have added 1,950MVA of 330 down to 132KV
transformer capacity of 10 transmission stations and 2,930MVA of 132
down to 33KV transformer capacity of 42 sub-stations including Ikot
Ekpene, Aba, Alagbon, Ajah, Ejigbo, Funtuaand Zaria.?
This Administration is working with the privatised distribution Companies to overcome the continuing challenges of distribution.
These massive public works should spearhead the recovery and lead
millions back to employment. You will recall that it was not until last
year that we got out of the economic recession into which the country
had fallen as a consequence of past unsustainable economic policies
which projected short-term illusory growth.
The government is slowly stabilizing the economy.
It was in order to change the steady and steep decline that we
adopted the more sustainable policies and programmes captured in the
Economic Recovery Plan. Diversification efforts have resulted in
improved output particularly in agriculture and solid minerals sectors.
The relative exchange rate stability has improved manufacturing sector
We have got to get used to discipline and direction in economic management. The days of business as usual are numbered.
Two years ago I appealed to people to go back to the land. I am
highly gratified that agriculture has picked up, contributing to the
government’s effort to re-structure the economy. Rice imports will stop
this year. Local rice, fresher and more nutritious will be on our dishes
By the same token, I am today appealing to enterprising Nigerians
with ideas and unemployed graduates and other able-bodied and literate
men and women with ideas not to just sit and wait for employment from
the government or the Organized Private Sector. Great nations are built
by enterprising people who turn their hands to anything that
In respect of political developments, I have kept a close watch on
the on-going debate about “Restructuring”. No human law or edifice is
perfect. Whatever structure we develop must periodically be perfected
according to changing circumstances and the country’s socio-economic
developments. We Nigerians can be very impatient and want to improve our
conditions faster than may be possible considering our resources and
capabilities. When all the aggregates of nationwide opinions are
considered, my firm view is that our problems are more to do
with process than structure.
We tried the Parliamentary system: we jettisoned it. Now there are
shrill cries for a return to the Parliamentary structure. In older
democracies these systems took centuries to evolve so we cannot expect a
copied system to fit neatly our purposes. We must give a long period of
trial and improvement before the system we have adopted is anywhere
near fit for purpose.
However, there is a strong case for a closer look at the cost of
government and for the public services long used to extravagance, waste
and corruption to change for the better. I assure you that government is
ever receptive to ideas which will improve governance and contribute to
the country’s peace and stability.
As the electioneering season approaches politicians must avoid
exploiting ethnicity and religion by linking ethnicity with religion and
religion with politics. Such must be avoided at all costs if we are to
live in harmony.
In this respect the rest of Nigeria could learn from the South
Western States who have successfully internalized religion,
ethnicity and politics.
Political discourse should be conducted with civility, decorum and in
a constitutional manner. We all have a collective responsibility to
strengthen our democracy and entrench the rule of law. We should draw
encouragement from the series of bye-elections conducted by INEC last
year which were generally violence free and their outcomes adjudged to
be free and fair.
Before I conclude my address I must reassure my fellow citizens that
security of life and property is still top of our government’s agenda.
We have since beaten Boko Haram. Isolated attacks still occur, but even
the best-policed countries cannot prevent determined criminals from
committing terrible acts of terror as we have seen during the
past years in Europe, Asia, Middle East, elsewhere in Africa
and in America.
Our government remains determined to protect all Nigerians in line
with our election pledge and promises.On behalf of all Nigerians let me
offer our thanks to the Armed forces, the Police, other para-military
forces and traditional authorities who are working round the clock to
ensure that you and I go about our normal business in reasonable safety.
Terrorism and urban crimes are world-wide phenomena and our security
forces are continuously adapting their responses to changing threats.
With regard to rampant cases of kidnappings, we are taking immediate
short-term measures to combat this new evil creeping into our societies.
Tighter police methods and swift and severe punishment for those proved to be engaged in kidnapping are on the way.
With respect to Niger Delta, Government is still engaging responsible
leadership of the Communities to help in identifying and addressing
genuine grievances of the region. Our clean-up programme in
collaboration with the United Nations is making satisfactory progress.
I am grateful to all the Governors and other Political &Community
leaders of the Niger Delta States for their part in
bringing relative peace to the areas.
Finally let me again express my heartfelt thanks to all Nigerians who
prayed for me during my illness last year. I feel deeply humbled by
your prayers and good wishes and I am more determined than ever to serve
you to the best of my ability.
Good morning. And I wish everyone a Happy New Year.?