By Ben Agande, Abuja
President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan said Friday in London that the Federal Government, the Nigerian Armed Forces and security agencies were working very hard to ensure that Boko Haram do not capture more Nigerian territories.
Speaking at the opening of the meeting of Nigeria’s Honorary International Investment Council (HIIC), President Jona-than assured the gathering that the Armed Forces and security agencies were making steady gains in recovering areas recently taken by Boko Haram.
His remarks, however, underscored the menace of the insurgents who have been seizing Nigerian towns and killing Nigerians. It has been so bad that for a short period that no Nigerian town fell to the insurgents the President had some relief. And he indicated that in his remarks in London.
Said he: “We are improving on security. For about a week now there have been no reports of Boko Haram seizing more territories. Rather, we are steadily pushing them back. The impression being created by sections of the media that the situation is worsening is not true. I can assure you that it will never get worse,” President Jona-than told the gathering.
The President also seized the opportunity of the occasion to call for greater support from the National Assembly for the Federal Government’s efforts to curb terrorism, insurgency and insecurity in the country.
He told members of the council headed by Baroness Lynda Chalker that he had offered himself as a candidate in Nigeria’s next presidential elections because he was convinced that with four more years in office, he will be able to further consolidate the positive national reforms initiated by his adminis-tration and take them to a point of irreversibility for the good of all Nigerians.
“As you already know, I have indicated my willingness to carry on for another four years if I am given the opportunity so that we can carry forward some of the reforms we have been talking about,” the President said.
He cited the expansion of transportation infrastru-cture, improvement of local content in Nigeria’s oil industry, more inclusive economic growth, job creation and national security which are on the agenda of the meeting as some of the areas in which his administration still hoped to achieve further improvements.
“We cannot move the economy forward without good infrastructure. We have been working very hard in that area. We have improved our road network significantly. In the next three to four years, we should be able to resurface almost all federal roads in the country and begin new ones.
“We are improving our airport terminals and aviation security. Reforms are also ongoing at our ports to drastically reduce the time required for import clearance formalities.
“In the rail sector, we may require private sector funds to quicken the pace of development. Our goal is to link all state capitals by rail. It may not be an objective that can be achieved by a single administration, but we want to lay a solid foundation that others can build on.
“We are also promoting the increase of local content in our oil industry, because that is the only way in which our people will benefit more from the industry and begin to see themselves as true stakeholders who need to protect and help in the development of our oil and gas resources,” President Jonathan said.
He thanked Baroness Chalker and other members of the council for their valuable advice to the Federal Government over the years. The meeting later went into a closed door session to receive briefings, updates and presentations from relevant ministers and council members.