President Muhammadu Buhari has on Thursday likened Rivers State as Nigeria’s most deadly state, even as he tendered an unreserved apology for the ill-tempered elections conducted under his watch in Kogi, Bayelsa and Rivers states.
This is just as he said his administration had so far raked N3 trillion into the Treasury Single Account, TSA.
Speaking at the first National Executive Committee, NEC, meeting of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Abuja this year, the president, who appealed for understanding from party members, nevertheless charged Nigerians to rise to the situation as he particularly charged militants in the Niger Delta that continuous sabotage of oil facilities was doing the people more harm than good.
He said: “I am afraid I did not succeed in the election in Kogi, Bayelsa, Rivers. I think that more Nigerians are killed or killed themselves in Rivers than in any particular state. At this stage of our political development, to remain brutal is shameful and as a government, I promise we will do something by the next general election.
Reacting to conflicting signals from Niger Delta militants, the president said:
“Some have said they are ready to drop their arms and join the rest of the nation to build it. But part of them are still sabotaging installations which is making investments in that lucrative area of Nigeria difficult because nobody will submit his riches to financial institutions, get money only to suffer huge loss.
“So, the environment for investment is being sabotaged by ourselves, Nigerians. We are doing our best with the military by trying to persuade them to join the rest of the country because in unity lies our strength.
Speaking on the huge benefit reaped from the decision to fully implement the TSA, he said:
“The Central Bank Governor, will tell you that in the TSA, we have more than N3 trillion. Where would this money have been if TSA was not in vogue? I was made to understand that vouchers would have quickly been raised towards the end of the financial year and cheques made.
Whether they are going into projects or private pockets, nobody can prove it to you. But that money is there, it is identified, it is quantified and when the budget comes back eventually, the Ministry of Finance will see how to allocate it to the rest of the country.”
“We have to get credible evidence to carry out successful prosecution and get judgement from the Judiciary. But effort is being made to give a list of recoveries in whatever currencies so far so that Nigerians will know that it is not all about long stories.”
“So, please, try to bear with us as we reflect on where we found ourselves,” Buhari pleaded.