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Buhari Felicitates Nigerians On 2017 New Year (Full Text)

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My dear Compatriots, 
I am happy to welcome you to the beginning of a New Year in our beloved country Nigeria.

I felicitate with you today at a time when our nation is witnessing a
new and impressive turnaround in our security and socio-economic
situation.

I know you will join me to, once again, congratulate
the heroic and gallant efforts of our military and other security
agencies on their remarkable successes to rid the nation of terrorism.

Following the successful capture of Sambisa Forest, spearheaded by
troops of Operation Lafiya Dole, we have entered a new phase in our
battle against our common enemy, Boko Haram.

When we see our
beloved 21 Chibok girls reuniting with their families and community for
Christmas, it gives us the hope that those who are still in captivity
will one day return to the loving arms of family, friends and
well-wishers.
I urge all Nigerians to be on the alert and watch
out for strange figures settling in their communities, and report to the
nearest security agencies, as our armed forces intensify the pursuit of
fleeing terrorists from the captured Sambisa Forest.
Misguided
elements who decided to take up arms against constituted authorities
must be brought to face the full weight of the law.
The support
of all Nigerians to security agencies to enable them successfully
execute their mandate is crucial in our bid to effectively secure our
country.
Seeing the joyful return of thousands of Internally
Displaced Persons (IDPs) to Damasak town in Borno State, following the
reopening of Maiduguri/Gubio/Damasak road in Northern Borno on December
25, 2016, reassured us that the voluntary return of IDPs in other parts
of the country is imminent.
The Federal Government will spare no
effort in seeing to the resettlement and rehabilitation of the
unfortunate victims of terrorism and insurgency. I urge state
governments, privileged Nigerians, donor agencies and countries to
redouble their contributions towards this goal.
Government is
aware of some mistakes and wrongdoings in handling the affairs of IDPs.
We are taking measures to correct those mistakes and punish the
culprits.
In this New Year, I want to reassure all Nigerians that
our defence and security forces are more than ever before ready to
perform their constitutional role of protecting lives and property in
the country; and we will surely overcome all other forms of security
challenges.

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The lingering security issues in several states will
be frontally addressed. These ugly crises cannot be allowed to fester as
they strain the unifying bonds of brotherhood and neighbourliness.
Some
sections of the press and some politicians should avoid provocative and
inflammatory statements, while the government is painstakingly trying
to find solutions to our challenges.
I want to remind you on the
first day of this New Year of an African proverb that says “it is easy
to break a broomstick but not a bunch”. Nigeria is a bunch and is more
than equal to troublemakers.
I have interacted with a broad
spectrum of Nigerians, the old and the young, and they have told me
unequivocally that they believe in the unity and stability of Nigeria.

The year 2017 provides an opportunity for us to build on those aspects
of our national life that unite us. We are courageous, hardworking,
hospitable, steadfast and resilient people, even in the face of
difficulties.

These are the attributes that define us and have
for years confounded the pessimists who do not believe in our continued
existence as a united and indivisible nation. We are a remarkable nation
that has succeeded in harnessing our multiple diversities for national
development. We must continue to support and tolerate one another and
live together as one.
We will continue to pursue peace
initiatives in the Niger Delta as I again, call on our brothers in that
region who have taken to violent disruptions of economic infrastructure
to come to the negotiating table.
As for our brothers and sisters
of the Shia Community, we urge them, too, to embrace peace. They must
accept the laws of the country they live in. They cannot be islands by
themselves. At the same time, the law enforcement agencies must treat
them humanely and according to the rule of law.
On our part, in
the past 20 months since our inauguration on May 29, 2015, we have
focused our energies to turn around the economy, create jobs, fight
corruption, and transform agriculture to replace oil and gas as a major
revenue earner for the nation. I am encouraged that we are getting
things right.
The agricultural revolution has begun. Farmers in
different parts of the country are experiencing bumper harvests; states
are getting into strategic partnership towards attaining
self-sufficiency in rice, and the era of over-dependence on oil for
foreign exchange revenues is gradually waning. I am optimistic that the
CHANGE we all yearned for in voting this administration to power in 2015
will manifest more and be sustained in different sectors, particularly
agriculture, in 2017.
As you may be aware, our economic recovery
and growth plan in 2017 is anchored on optimizing the use of local
content and empowering local businesses.

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In pursuit of this
administration’s philosophy, we will continue to appeal that we buy
“Made In Nigeria” goods. Like I said during the 2017 Budget presentation
to the National Assembly, farmers, small and medium-sized
manufacturers, agro-allied businesses, dressmakers, entertainers and
technology start-ups, will remain the true drivers of our economic
future. They are the engine of our economic recovery and their needs
underpin our Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.
On job creation,
this administration will sustain existing programmes aimed at lifting a
vast number of our youth out of poverty, while at the same time creating
the opportunities for people to fend for themselves.
Our
determination to wrestle corruption to the ground remains unshaken. This
fight, which will be guided by respect for the rule of law and due
process, will not spare anybody or organ of government. It is a
collective undertaking and resolve that must be seen to its logical
conclusion in spite of certain distractions. The fate of our country
lies partly in the success of this campaign. It will be unthinkable on
my part to allow the boat of this crucial campaign promise capsize
mid-stream.
I thank you for the public support for our
administration’s efforts to transform Nigeria. I assure you again that
the current pains are temporary and will ease when the economic seeds in
gestation begin to bloom to fruition. I urge you to continue to support
this administration in its effort to transform Nigeria for the good of
all.
I wish you a Happy New Year, 2017.
MUHAMMADU BUHARI
President, Federal Republic of Nigeria

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