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Weekly Trust - - News -

Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari yes­ter­day said lead­ers who un­der­mine the econ­omy by deny­ing work­ers their ben­e­fits while stuff­ing per­sonal ac­counts with pub­lic funds would not es­cape the cur­rent anti-cor­rup­tion drag­net.

Re­ceiv­ing an All Pro­gres­sives Congress (APC) del­e­ga­tion from Benue State led by Sen­a­tor Ge­orge Akume, Buhari said the fed­eral gov­ern­ment’s bailout to states and the Paris Club funds were ba­si­cally to al­le­vi­ate the suf­fer­ing of the peo­ple, de­scrib­ing mis­ap­pro­pri­a­tions as un­just and un­fair to work­ers.

“I hon­estly don’t know how peo­ple sleep when work­ers have not been paid. The work­ers have to pay rent, buy food, send their chil­dren to school and they have health­care to take care of.

“I as­sure you that my main in­ter­est is all Nige­ri­ans in all parts of the coun­try. There­fore, if any­body tries to cre­ate any im­pres­sion that I pre­fer any group across eth­nic­ity or re­li­gion let him dare me by be­ing caught red handed steal­ing pub­lic funds. I will deal with him,’’ he was quoted in a state­ment is­sued af­ter the meet­ing by his spokesper­son, Femi Adesina.

The pres­i­dent told the APC del­e­ga­tion that the Fed­eral Ex­ec­u­tive Coun­cil had been mon­i­tor­ing the plight of work­ers across the coun­try and util­i­sa­tion of the bailout and Paris Club funds by some states.

“I thank you for your courage to come and see me. This visit has re­sus­ci­tated our morale,’’ he said.

Pres­i­dent Buhari said the fed­eral gov­ern­ment had made sig­nif­i­cant progress in di­ver­si­fy­ing the econ­omy by in­vest­ing in agri­cul­ture and en­cour­ag­ing more in­di­vid­u­als and en­trepreneurs to go into farm­ing, point­ing out that Nige­ria would soon be­come self-suf­fi­cient in feed­ing its cit­i­zenry.

“We are proud of what we have achieved with re­sources at our dis­posal,’’ he added, list­ing on­go­ing road, rail, sea port, air­port and power projects as hall­marks of his ad­min­is­tra­tion’s com­mit­ment to im­prov­ing lives.

He said the Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture and the Cen­tral Bank of Nige­ria would be fur­ther mo­ti­vated to work to­gether and sup­port all in­ter­ested Nige­ri­ans to take up farm­ing on com­mer­cial scale.

He noted that the killings across the coun­try, in­clud­ing in Benue, Zam­fara and Taraba, were car­ried out by “un­godly’’ peo­ple who had no re­li­gious or eth­nic in­cli­na­tions.

“We know about herders. The ones we knew car­ried sticks, and some­times cut­lasses to cut fo­liage for their cat­tle. We now have peo­ple who carry AK 47s and pre­tend they are herds­men.

“We are work­ing hard to se­cure our bor­ders. We are go­ing to see how the old cat­tle routes can be opened. We will con­trol move­ment. Please beg our peo­ple to be pa­tient,’’ he said.

The pres­i­dent pointed out that se­cu­rity per­son­nel were al­ready un­cov­er­ing the net­work of the killers and ar­rest­ing them.

In his re­marks, Akume, a for­mer gover­nor of Benue State, said the nar­ra­tive in the state about the fed­eral gov­ern­ment was fast chang­ing for the pos­i­tive as more peo­ple had dis­cov­ered the good in­ten­tions of Pres­i­dent Buhari to se­cure lives and prop­erty, and al­le­vi­ate poverty.

“Your Ex­cel­lency, Mr Pres­i­dent, we know your com­mit­ment to Nige­ria. We know how much you love the coun­try and will be ready to die for the good cause,’’ Akume said.

He told the pres­i­dent that APC mem­bers had started sen­si­ti­za­tion and mo­bil­i­sa­tion of vot­ers for the 2019 elec­tions, not­ing that more had ac­cepted the party and its man­i­festo in the state.

He com­mended the pres­i­dent for the flagoff of the du­al­iza­tion of the Abuja-Keffi-Lafi­aMakurdi road, urg­ing more at­ten­tion on the Makurdi-Otukpo road and the wa­ter projects in Gboko and Otukpo.

On cor­rup­tion, Sen. Akume said the pres­i­dent had made sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence by tack­ling per­pe­tra­tors.

In an in­ter­view with news­men af­ter the meet­ing, Akume blamed the Benue State Gover­nor, Sa­muel Or­tom for the clashes be­tween herders and farm­ers in the state.

“When you talk about herds­men and farm­ers clash, it’s a story go­ing good bye. Have you heard of farm­ers/herders clashes in Benue again? No. We know those who were be­hind that, gov­ern­ment was be­hind that. I am talk­ing about the state gov­ern­ment through the Livestock Guards, they knew what was go­ing on,” he said.

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