By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA – President Mohammdu Buhari Tuesday said that work would commence on the dilapidated Lagos-Ibadan express way.
This was even as he said that his administration was committed to ending sabotage, theft and vandalization of gas pipeline and other installations which he said has affected power generation and supply in Nigeria.
The president assured that the Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola would address the issue of the collapsed road.
Also to checkmate and end the ugly trend of gas theft, president Buhari announced that the existing Military Task-Forces will be reorganized to ensure a successful protection of the network of gas pipelines.
The president spoke in an interactive session with the members of the Nigerian community in Tehran, Iran on Tuesday.
He noted that “although some improvement in power had been recorded in the recent period,” sabotage of pipeline installations had continued to be a problem.
He said: “Power is a running battle because the saboteurs are still there. We have the potential. We have gas, we have qualified people but we are contending with a lot of saboteurs who go and blow up installations. When gas is pumped to Egbin and such other power stations, thieves and saboteurs such as the militants cut those supplies.”
The president also cited another factor as the reduced role of the government in the sector due to the privatization of the institutions under the Power Handling Company of Nigeria, PHCN in the process of which, he said, the facilities “have been sold to a number of interest groups.”
He however assured that the Military task-forces with representation from the Army, Navy, Air Force, the Police and the secret services will be reconstituted to secure the pipelines.
“Supplies will become steady; there will be less sabotage as we secure the pipelines”, he said.
Responding to a question on the need to improve healthcare delivery, President Buhari said that efforts had been intensified towards ridding the country of fake drugs and fake doctors, and also what he called ” the disgraceful aspects” manifested by ” baby factories.”
He also enumerated several steps being taken towards the revival of education from primary school school level to university.
On the creation of jobs, he placed the prevailing joblessness in the country at the door-step of the last administration which he blamed for giving ” a devastating blow to the economy through corruption and incompetence.”
Speaking on corruption as one of the three issues he identified as the priorities of his administration, President Buhari said that the necessity for compliance with due process of the law was responsible for the delay in the prosecution of the looters of the country’s economy but that the “the day of reckoning is gradually coming.”
He also revealed that a number of past officials had begun the voluntary return of stolen funds but expressed the view that his government was not satisfied with tokens.
“We want to have everything back-all that they took by force in 16 years,” he said.