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No going back on reforms, says Jonathan

By Daniel Idonor

 ABUJA—ACTING President, Goodluck Jonathan has declared that there is no going back in on-going socio-economic and political reforms, saying that the Federal Government is commitment to carry out reforms and check corruption in the country. Jonathan said this when he received the US Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Mr. William Burns in Abuja.

He assured that the reforms which are in phases will cut across vital areas of our national life, noting that the on-going electoral reform will produce credible elections as one of its ingredients is to count the votes and declare results at the polling booths.

 To strengthen EFCC, ICPC

 Jonathan also assured that the two main agencies of government for fighting corruption namely, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, ICPC, and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, are being strengthened to enhance probity and accountability in governance.

He said  this administration is fully committed to the recently established  Nigeria-US Bi-National Commission, saying committees have been set up to get it started.

While expressing optimism that the flash points in the country and the Niger Delta crisis are put under control, Acting President Jonathan said government is making effort to create employment opportunities for the unemployed youths who are easily engaged in criminal activities.

“One of the ways in which we want to arrest youth restiveness is to create jobs, especially in the agricultural sector, if the youths are engaged meaningfully, the crime rates will drastically reduce,” he said.                                                                                                   

 Decries proliferation of arms in Africa

 Commenting on the crisis laden zones in the continent, Dr. Jonathan decried the proliferation of small arms and light weapons as a major contributor to crisis in Africa. He noted that drug peddlers, pirates and other criminals use illicit arms to carry out their activities.

He however, stated that Nigeria is mediating for peace in the continent, especially in the West Africa sub-region and the political crisis in Niger has been brought under control. He also noted that other problems being faced in the continent is poor communication facilities, transportation and intractable maternal health problems.

In his remarks, the US Under-Secretary for Political Affairs, Mr. William Burns, said he came to the country “to convey the best regards of President Barrack Obama to Acting President Jonathan and appreciation for the constructive role and positive contributions that Nigeria made during the recently concluded nuclear summit in Washington.”

 Obama lauds Nigeria

 He said the establishment of the Nigeria-US Bi-National Commission is as a result of the strategic partnership between his country and Nigeria. Burns explained that the Bi-National Commission will offer practical opportunity to cooperate systematically in the areas of business and investment, energy, agriculture, peace and security, among others.

He assured that “United States is fully committed to trying to turn this mechanism into practical benefits to the people of Nigeria as well as America.”

He disclosed that it was discussed in the Security Council that United States and Nigeria are determined to always live up to their responsibilities and to work together to produce civilian nuclear energy and reduce existing nuclear arsenal.

“The fact is that Nigeria matters to the United States, it matters to Africa and it matters to the increasing range of global issues”, Burns added. 

 …says Nigeria ‘ll overcome challenges

  Also   the Acting President, Goodluck Jonathan has urged Nigerians to continue to exercise faith in God as the present government continues to tackle the fundamental challenges of development facing the country.

He expressed appreciation to God for Nigeria even as he said to surmount the various challenges facing the country, God’s help and the support of men and women of goodwill is required.

He stated this during the 10th Anniversary Dinner and Award night celebration of the Aso Villa Chapel in the State House, Abuja.

Dr. Jonathan said the time has come when men and women should come together in prayers to help the present administration in tackling urgent matters affecting our beloved country, especially the issue of good governance, peaceful co-existence, credible electoral system and combating corruption.


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