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[ Masterweb Reports ] - I join my fellow citizens this morning to welcome and celebrate the New Year 2018. This year promises to be pivotal in our quest for CHANGE.
Unfortunately, I am saddened to acknowledge that for many this Christmas and New Year holidays have been anything but merry and happy. Instead of showing love, companionship and charity, some of our compatriots chose this period to inflict severe hardship on us all by creating unnecessary fuel scarcity across the country.
The consequence was that not many could travel and the few who did had to pay exorbitant transport fares. This is unacceptable given that NNPC had taken measures to ensure availability at all depots. I am determined to get to the root of this collective blackmail of all Nigerians and ensure that whichever groups are behind this manipulated hardship will be prevented from doing so again.
Such unpatriotism will not divert the Administration from the course we have set ourselves. Our government’s watch word and policy thrust is CHANGE. We must change our way of doing things or we will stagnate and be left behind in the race to lift our people out of poverty and into prosperity.
My address to fellow Nigerians this morning is devoted mainly to informing you about the intense efforts this Administration is putting to address our country’s huge infrastructural deficit.
We are going to make significant in-roads in advancing road, rail and power projects across the country.
The Ministry of Power, Works and Housing is one of the drivers of this Government’s commitment to renew and increase Nigeria’s stock of infrastructure in order to achieve global economic competitiveness as targeted under the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.
With regards to Railways, we have set ourselves ambitious targets. Already in construction stage is the Lagos-Kano Standard Gauge Railway.
The line should reach Ibadan from Lagos by the end of 2019 and will carry two million passengers per year and five million tons of cargo will be transported every year giving a substantial boost to the country’s economy.
Construction of the Kano – Kaduna segment is expected to commence this year and reach Kaduna by the end of 2019. By the end of 2021 the two ends will be joined so that we will have standard gauge railway across the main North-South trading route.
The Abuja – Kaduna route will be boosted by additional rolling stock next Thursday and will be able to handle one million commuters annually.
At the same time I have approved and negotiations will be concluded in the first part of this year for the Port Harcourt to Maiduguri line covering Aba, Owerri, Umuahia, Enugu, Awka, Abakaliki, Makurdi, Lafia, Jos, Bauchi, Gombe, Yola and Damaturu. The Abuja to Itakpe line will go through Baro and terminate in Warri with construction of a new seaport at Warri.
Negotiations are also advanced for the construction of other railway lines, firstly from Kano to Maradi in Niger Republic passing through Kazaure, Daura, Katsina, Jibia to Maradi.
Secondly, Lagos to Calabar the "Coastal Rail" through Ore, Benin, Agbor, Asaba, Onitsha, Sapele, Ughelli, Warri, Yenagoa, Otuoke, Port Harcourt, Aba, Uyo and Calabar. In the next few years, all these Nigerian cities will be linked by functional modern rail systems, giving enormous boost to the social and economic life of our people.
With respect to the Abuja Capital Light Rail, progress has reached 98% completion, as at 64% completion when we assumed office. Only test runs remain before start of operations.
This train service will stimulate economic activities in the Federal Capital and provide residents with an efficient and safe transportation system. Twelve railway sub-stations around the capital over a 45.2 kilometre route will serve as a catalyst and a pull factor to the economy of the area. The Light Rail System will reduce traffic congestion and carbon emission in line with the Administration’s policy on climate change.
Management of the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) has been reconstituted and has been charged with a 12 week rapid intervention in road repairs to cover all the geo-political zones. Government is undertaking repairs and maintenance of 44 roads within the six geo-political zones.
Twenty five major highways will be funded under the N100b SUKUK facility. Each geo-political zone will benefit by an equal amount of N16.67b. The following major highways are to receive special attention:
a. Oyo – Ogbomosho,
b. Ofusu – Ore – Ajebandele – Shagamu,
c. Yenagoa Road Junction – Kolo Otuoke – Bayelsa Palm,
d. Enugu – Port Harcourt Dual Carriage Way,
e. Onitsha – Enugu Expressway,
f. Kaduna Eastern Bypass,
g. Dualization of Kano – Maiduguri Road,
h. Dualization of Abuja – Lokoja – Benin Road,
i. Dualization of Suleja – Minna Road.
In addition, Government has approved work to start on the re-construction of Abuja – Kaduna – Zaria – Kano road which is in a state of disrepair. Work will soon start and is expected to be completed in 2019.
More Nigerians across the country are experiencing improved power supply to their homes and businesses. However, power remains a concern to this government because too many people still do not have regular and reliable supply.
The Payment Assurance Guarantee Scheme which started in January 2016 has enabled the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trader to raise so far N701 billion to assure Generation Companies of at least 80% payment for any power delivered to the national grid.
Consequently, generation has now reached 7,000MW. On December 8, 2017 the country achieved 5,155MW of power delivered to consumers, the highest level ever recorded.
Several moribund projects have been revived. Repairs of Afam Power Station added 110MW in 2017 and another 240MW will be added this year through a private investment partnership.
Katsina Power Project is now being tested and producing 10MW of power from wind for the first time in Nigeria. It should be fully operational this year.
The Zungeru 700MW Hydroelectric Power Project, stalled by court cases is due for completion in 2019. The transmission and other requirements to operate the 30MW Gurara Phase 1 Hydroelectric Plant, the 40MW Kashimbilla Hydroelectric Plant and the 215 MW Kaduna Gas/LPG/Diesel Power Plant will also be completed this year.
A landmark project, Mambilla Hydroelectric Power Project is at last taking off. This project has been on the drawing Board for 40 years, but now the engineering, procurement and construction contract for the 3,050MW project has been agreed with a Chinese joint venture Company with a financing commitment from the government of China. Completion is targeted for 2023.
As I mentioned earlier, the Transmission Company of Nigeria can now distribute all the 7,000MW that can be generated. TCN and the Niger Delta Holding Company have added 1,950MVA of 330 down to 132KV transformer capacity of 10 transmission stations and 2,930MVA of 132 down to 33KV transformer capacity of 42 sub-stations including Ikot Ekpene, Aba, Alagbon, Ajah, Ejigbo, Funtua and Zaria.
This Administration is working with the privatised distribution Companies to overcome the continuing challenges of distribution.
These massive public works should spearhead the recovery and lead millions back to employment. You will recall that it was not until last year that we got out of the economic recession into which the country had fallen as a consequence of past unsustainable economic policies which projected short-term illusory growth.
The government is slowly stabilizing the economy.
It was in order to change the steady and steep decline that we adopted the more sustainable policies and programmes captured in the Economic Recovery Plan. Diversification efforts have resulted in improved output particularly in agriculture and solid minerals sectors. The relative exchange rate stability has improved manufacturing sector performance.
We have got to get used to discipline and direction in economic management. The days of business as usual are numbered.
Two years ago I appealed to people to go back to the land. I am highly gratified that agriculture has picked up, contributing to the government’s effort to re-structure the economy. Rice imports will stop this year. Local rice, fresher and more nutritious will be on our dishes from now on.
By the same token, I am today appealing to enterprising Nigerians with ideas and unemployed graduates and other able-bodied and literate men and women with ideas not to just sit and wait for employment from the government or the Organized Private Sector. Great nations are built by enterprising people who turn their hands to anything that circumstances dictate.
In respect of political developments, I have kept a close watch on the on-going debate about "Restructuring". No human law or edifice is perfect. Whatever structure we develop must periodically be perfected according to changing circumstances and the country’s socio-economic developments. We Nigerians can be very impatient and want to improve our conditions faster than may be possible considering our resources and capabilities. When all the aggregates of nationwide opinions are considered, my firm view is that our problems are more to do with process than structure.
We tried the Parliamentary system: we jettisoned it. Now there are shrill cries for a return to the Parliamentary structure. In older democracies these systems took centuries to evolve so we cannot expect a copied system to fit neatly our purposes. We must give a long period of trial and improvement before the system we have adopted is anywhere near fit for purpose.
However, there is a strong case for a closer look at the cost of government and for the public services long used to extravagance, waste and corruption to change for the better. I assure you that government is ever receptive to ideas which will improve governance and contribute to the country’s peace and stability.
As the electioneering season approaches politicians must avoid exploiting ethnicity and religion by linking ethnicity with religion and religion with politics. Such must be avoided at all costs if we are to live in harmony.
In this respect the rest of Nigeria could learn from the South Western States who have successfully internalized religion, ethnicity and politics.
Political discourse should be conducted with civility, decorum and in a constitutional manner. We all have a collective responsibility to strengthen our democracy and entrench the rule of law. We should draw encouragement from the series of bye-elections conducted by INEC last year which were generally violence free and their outcomes adjudged to be free and fair.
Before I conclude my address I must reassure my fellow citizens that security of life and property is still top of our government’s agenda. We have since beaten Boko Haram. Isolated attacks still occur, but even the best-policed countries cannot prevent determined criminals from committing terrible acts of terror as we have seen during the past years in Europe, Asia, Middle East, elsewhere in Africa and in America.
Our government remains determined to protect all Nigerians in line with our election pledge and promises. On behalf of all Nigerians let me offer our thanks to the Armed forces, the Police, other para-military forces and traditional authorities who are working round the clock to ensure that you and I go about our normal business in reasonable safety.
Terrorism and urban crimes are world-wide phenomena and our security forces are continuously adapting their responses to changing threats.
With regard to rampant cases of kidnappings, we are taking immediate short-term measures to combat this new evil creeping into our societies. Tighter police methods and swift and severe punishment for those proved to be engaged in kidnapping are on the way.
With respect to Niger Delta, Government is still engaging responsible leadership of the Communities to help in identifying and addressing genuine grievances of the region. Our clean-up programme in collaboration with the United Nations is making satisfactory progress.
I am grateful to all the Governors and other Political & Community leaders of the Niger Delta States for their part in bringing relative peace to the areas.
Finally let me again express my heartfelt thanks to all Nigerians who prayed for me during my illness last year. I feel deeply humbled by your prayers and good wishes and I am more determined than ever to serve you to the best of my ability.
Good morning. And I wish everyone a Happy New Year.
*Photo Caption - President Muhammadu Buhari

[ Masterweb Reports: Isiaka Wakili reports ] - President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday assented to the National Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment (Establishment) Bill 2017. The Act is to provide national direction in cancer research, control and treatment; guide scientific improvements to cancer prevention, treatment and care, coordinate and liaise between the wide range of groups and health care providers with an interest in cancer.


Buhari also signed the Compulsory Treatment and Care for Victims of Gunshot and Other Related Matters Bill 2017 which stipulates that a person with a gunshot wound shall be received for immediate and adequate treatment by any hospital in Nigeria with or without initial monetary deposit.
The Act also states that a person with a gunshot wound shall not be subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment or torture by any person or authority, including the police and other security agencies.
Buhari equally assented to the Anti-Torture Bill 2017 which makes comprehensive provisions for penalizing the acts of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatments or punishment as well ad prescribes penalties for the commission of such acts.
Alsi signed by the president were the Niger Delta Development Commission (Establishment) Amendment Bill 2017 and the Federal Capital Appropriation Bill 2017.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters, Ita Enang, said Buhari had earlier assented to the Federal Capital Territory Water Board (Establishment) Act 2017.
*Photo Caption - President Muhammadu Buhari

[ Masterweb Reports: Isiaka Wakili reports ] - President Muhammadu Buhari will complete projects during his second term, Senator Kabiru Gaya (APC, Kano) said this at the Presidential Villa on Thursday. Gaya was speaking to State House correspondents after meeting with the president.
"On road projects, we have to thank President Buhari for putting extra efforts and may Allah continue to give him good health and strength to continue. I know he is going to commission some projects in 2018 and those not completed will be completed during his second term," he said.
Gaya, who is the chairman of the Senate Committee on Works, said he was in the Villa to, among other things, thank the president for visiting Kano.
He said: "We are also very happy that he has awarded the road projects from Kano to Abuja which will cost N165 billion, that is a plus. And also being that I am the chairman of works Committee, no government for the past 16 years has been able to put so much money on road project like this government.
"The budget of 2011-2014 it was only N26 billion that was allocated for works but in 2016 when President Buhari came in we had a budget of over N200 billion for works and in 2017 we have over N400 billion and for 2018 we have about N500 billion for works. So we are rehabilitating our roads and those that were abandoned for years the contractors have gone back to site.
"I have gone round 26 states of the federation as Chairman Senate Committee on Works, is remaining the states in the south west and three states in the north west for me to visit. We have seen that work are going on, in some places there are issues of payment but the contractors are back to site because the president has orders for them to be paid and I’m sure payment to contractors commenced last week and will continue till next week."
*Photo Caption - President Muhammadu Buhari

[ Masterweb Reports: Brown Justice reports ] - Despite the fact that Nigeria is one of the major oil producing countries in the world, Nigerians still experience fuel scarcity during Christmas and New Year celebrations.
This development has forced this reporter to investigate the circumstances that drove the nation in to the current economic ragamuffin.
Hence, as a way of finding solution to the intermittent fuel scarcity in the country, the Nigerian government introduced what is called Offshore Processing Arrangement (OPA) and Crude Oil Swap regime which the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) allocates crude oil to oil trading companies in exchange for processed petroleum products.
But this reporter observed that the Crude Oil Swap regime now known as DSDP lacked total transparency as it only served vested interests as against national interest.
Investigation further revealed that the DSDP programme also lacked ethnic balancing as participating companies does not have national spread to distribute PMS to all parts of Nigeria.
This is probably why the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) accused the Federal Government of conspiracy against Nigerian Christians. The Christian body in a statement asked why is it that fuel scarcity only resurfaces during Christmas and New Year celebrations in the country?
In similar vein, analysts are of the view that Nigeria is at the losing end as it never get real value from the deals. For Instance, the Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI), an extractive industry watchdog in its 2015 report estimated that Nigeria lost $966 million to crude oil swap deals between 2009 and 2012 as well as billions of naira in subsequent years until it was canceled in 2016.
Because of the criticism that trailed the oil swap regime, the NNPC in 2016 replaced it with a new import scheme called Direct Sales and Direct Purchase programme (DSDP) since the earlier OPA and crude oil swap regime short changed Nigeria.
However, critics are saying the new DSDP programme is like an old wine in a new bottle because the scheme which means direct sales of crude oil to refineries or consultants who in turn supply NNPC with the refined petroleum products is not effective and error free.
This year's DSDP contract kicked off on April 1st and is expected to last for one year. The worth is over $6 billion if the crude oil price remains at $45 per barrel.
No fewer than 128 local and international oil and gas companies in February submitted bid to participate in the programme, but only 10 companies were chosen. The yardsticks or parameters used in selecting the 10 companies as well as their terms of engagement remains opaque as there was no atom of transparency in the entire process.
The said agreement for the lifting of over 300, 000 barrels of crude oil per day in exchange for imported fuels was signed with a foreign company as a partner.
Whether the 10 chosen companies have the capacity to meet the 35 million litres of fuel needed nationwide on daily basis is a different story.
The companies are; Vitol - Varo Energy, Cepsa -Oando, Petrocam Trading - Rainoil Ltd, Trafiqura - AA Rano Nigeria, Totsa - Total Nigeria, Socar Trading - Hyde Energy, Mocah - Heyden Petroleum, Mercuria - Matrix Energy, MRS Oil/Gas - Litasco and finally, SIR Refinery - Sahara Energy Resources Ltd.
Despite the new import scheme coupled with the fact that NNPC gets 445, 000 barrels of crude oil per day for its local refineries, Nigerians still experience fuel scarcity!
Meanwhile, contrary to claims by the NNPC that marketers who hoard fuel commodity are responsible for the current fuel scarcity, the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPPA) has come out to disprove the NNPC saying the scarcity is as a result of NNPC's inability to send refined products to their members.
According to DAPPA's Executive Secretary, Mr. Olufemi Adewole: ''Our members depots are presently empty. However, if the PPMC/NNPC can provide us with petrol, we are ready to do 24-hour loading to alleviate the sufferings of Nigerians and for the fuel queues to be totally eliminated.''
Mr. Adewole further stated that ''While all kinds of allegations have been made in the media, it is important to set the records straight as Nigerians first and as responsible business men and women who employs Nigerians ... As at today, NNPC has been the sole importer of PMS (fuel) in to the country.''
In similar vein, the Chairman, Integrated Oil and Gas Ltd, Capt. Emmanuel Iheanacho said '' The inability of NNPC to create a window for private importers to import petrol also contributed to the scarcity.''
The unanswered question is what is the essence of Crude Oil Swap now known as Direct Sales and Direct Purchase scheme when it cannot forestall fuel scarcity in the country?
What is NNPC doing with the 445, 000 barrels of crude oil allocated to it daily?
Why is our depots empty without fuel when we have NNPC and 10 other companies lifting crude oil from Nigeria?
How come the Depots and Petroleum Products Marketers Association whose members controls 65 percent market share in the down stream sector goes without fuel whereas some little known companies without national spread in their distribution capacities get the product at ease?
Until some of the questions raised here are answered by relevant bodies, Nigerians will still wallow in intermittent fuel scarcity without hope of elimination.
Brown Justice ( Email: ) reports from Abuja.
*Photo Caption - As seen.


[ Masterweb Reports: Joshua Odeyemi reports ] - 36 dangerous prisoners have escaped from Ikot Ekpene Prison in Akwa-Ibom State on Wednesday after attacking personnel on duty.
Command Public Relations Officer, ASP Ogbajie J. Ogbajie, in a statement said: "At about 11: 47hrs on Wednesday, 27 December 2017, there was an attack on kitchen staff that were on duty at Ikot Ekpene Prison in Akwa-Ibom State by some prisoners.
"They seized an axe from fellow inmate attached to the kitchen, inflicting a deep cut to inmates’ head in the process and immediately made for the rear entrance to the prison. They broke the door with the axe and engaged the staff that chased after them in battle.
"At the end of the scuffle, 4 of them that sustained gun shots lost their lives while 7 were recaptured. 36 are still at large," he said.
He disclosed that search parties have already been activated to effect their recapture.
Meanwhile, the Controller of Prisons Akwa Ibom State Command, Alex Oditah has ordered an investigation into the circumstance surrounding the incident.
He appealed to members of the public to assist the authority with useful intelligence that will aid the recapture of the fleeing prisoners.
Oditah assured that security has been strengthen in all prison formations in the State to forestall any breach of security.
*Photo Caption - As seen.

[ Masterweb Reports: Isiaka Wakili reports ] - Yusuf Buhari, a son of President Muhammadu Buhari had a bike accident last night around Gwarimpa in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, confirmed this in a statement on Wednesday.


Shehu said Yusuf broke a limb and had an injury to the head as a result. According to him, Yusuf has undergone surgery at a clinic in Abuja and he is in a stable condition.
Shehu said the president and his wife, Mrs Aisha Muhammadu Buhari, were thankful to Nigerians for the good wishes and prayers for their son.
"May God reward you all," the presidential spokesman added.
*Photo Caption - Yusuf Buhari

[ Masterweb Reports: Victor Edozie reports ] - Gunmen yesterday abducted the paramount ruler of Mgbuolua in Rundele community in Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State, Eze, G.A.O Omodu. The hoodlums abducted the traditional ruler from his residence in the early hours of yesterday and whisked him away in his car.
A source close to the family, Alex Igbeni, who confirmed the incident to journalistsa, said the car was later recovered between Rumuji-Ndele axis of the East-West road.
Igbani disclosed that the youths of the community had swung into action by invading the forest in search of the monarch, adding that the kidnappers had not contacted members of the victim’s family.
He said, "Around 2.30am today (Tuesday), unknown gunmen invaded the house of the paramount ruler of Mgbuolua, who just travelled home with his family yesterday (Monday) for Christmas and kidnapped him and also made away with his car. But his car was found at the boundary between Ndele and Rumuji community axis of the East West road. We believe that the kidnappers took him through the bush. Let the security operatives help us."
The State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Nnamdi Omoni, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), said security operatives had been deployed to the area to ensure rescue of the victim.
*Photo Caption - As seen.

[ Masterweb Reports: Isiaka Wakili reports ] - President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday said 2017 had been a very tough year for Nigeria, assuring citizens that 2018 will be prosperous.
"It has been a tough year for Nigeria and I hope next year will be a much more prosperous one," the president said when he received a delegation of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) residents who paid him Christmas homage in the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Buhari, however, said God had answered the prayers of Nigerians as the rainy season was good and farmers recorded bumper harvest across the country.
"But God listened to the majority of us, the rainy season was very good and some states have got very good information from home; I never knew that the people from Kano who are more resourceful used to go to my area and hire farms. This year nobody hired farm, and nobody regretted it.
"And again, the second one from the Governor of Sokoto State who said all the people that really registered early to perform last pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia were farmers. But he didn’t tell me if they took additional wives.
Reflecting on his recent ailment that made him stay in London for over 100 days, the president restated that he had never been so sick.
"....this sickness, I don’t know, but I came out better because all those who saw me before and when I came back said I look much better. But I have explained it to the public that as a General, I used to give orders, now, I take orders. The doctors told me to feed my stomach and sleep for longer hours. That is why I am looking much better," he said.
President Buhari also stated that he was thinking he was 74 years old before he was told that he was 75.
"I thought I was 74, but I was told I was 75. I have never been so sick even the 30 months civil war I was stumbling under farm of yams or cassava," he said.
He thanked the delegation, led by FCT Minister Mohammed Bello, for making the sacrifice to visit him, telling them that he had learnt to cherish good neighbourliness at individual and national levels.
"That was why when I was elected, my first trip was Chad, Niger, Cameron and Benin Republic. If you are in good terms with your neighbours, then you can make some savings for development. But if you start fighting your neighbours, then I’m afraid the resources you have, you will lose it in trying to be very clever.
So, I try to be very close to my neighbours both individually and nationally. I thank you very much for being very good neighbours," he told the delegation.
The president said the intelligence he was getting showed that religious leaders were trying their best to ensure citizens live as "good neighbours and good Nigerians."
The Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), FCT Chapter, Mr Jonah Samson, lauded the Buhari administration for its performances in the fight against corruption and insurgency in the country.

Samson, who also commended the administration’s efforts towards ensuring security of life and property of citizens, urged the government to provide additional employment opportunities to address youth restiveness in the country.

Some of the highlights of the event was the presentation of Christmas cards to the president by the FCT minister and the Chaplain of the Aso Rock Chapel.
*Photo Caption - President Muhammadu Buhari

[ Masterweb Reports ] – December 25, 2017 is another special day in our lives; it is Christmas, a day the world celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ our saviour. Christmas is an ideal time to express love and good wishes for those we care about. Masterweb cares about all her readers, their families, friends and associates, and wishes them " Merry Xmas & A Happy New Year". May your holiday season be blessed with the true meaning of Christmas. May the timeless message of Christmas fill your heart and home with joy today, new year and years to come. May Africa, the Middle East and the rest of the world find the much peace they deserve. No more wars, nor hunger - May the Good Lord Bless us all. Merry Christmas! Happy New Year!

Gifts tied with beautiful ribbons arriving your home by mail! Yes, it is Christmas. Let us give thanks to the Lord for a life filled with many blessings, as we celebrate Christmas, the birth of Jesus, an immaculate conception and miracle culminating to divine delivery( "Therefoe the Lord himself shall give a sign, Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel" -Isaiah 7:14 ).
God bless you as you share Christmas with family and with friends. May He fill your heart and dreams with peace, love and joy that never end. Speaking at our annual end of year party last weekend, our CEO/Founder, Chief Charles O. Okereke, declaring the event open said: "Our staff and readers have carried us to great lofty heights this year. We got over one billion hits this year, on all our sites. This was made possible due to our dedicated staff and loyal readers/customers like you. Thank you for the unflinching dedication, patronage and loyalty."
May this wonderful season warm your heart with joy that will last throughout the New Year.
*Click Link Below for Your Xmas / New Year Card :

[ Masterweb Reports: Isiaka Wakili reports ] - President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed conviction that despite the current challenges, better days are ahead for all Nigerians. President Buhari said this on Saturday in his 2017 Christmas message to the nation.
"I am deeply convinced that better days lie ahead for us as a nation as we make progress on all the major fronts where we have set our energies to surmount the challenges," he said.
The president felicitated with all Nigerians, particularly Christians, on the occasion of this year’s Christmas celebration.
According to him, "The commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ is an important opportunity for us to show love to one another and encourage unity by spending quality time with our friends, families and the less-privileged.
"It is also an occasion to draw inspiration from the exemplary lifestyle and teachings of Jesus Christ, who constantly stood for what is right, true and honest.
"The Holy Book describes Christmas as a festival of peace, joy, healing, hope and fulfilment. It kindles great expectations in the heart, irrespective of the challenges of the moment."
He said as Nigerians celebrate this Yuletide season, they should devote some time to pray and appreciate the sacrifices of members of the armed services to keep the nation safe and secure.
"By the same token, and keeping with the spirit of the season, our gallant troops serving in the frontlines in the fight against insurgency; those wounded, lying in the hospital, as well as civilians who have suffered the brunt of evil and wicked elements these past years, deserve our fervent goodwill and sustained prayers.
"The personal fortitude of these individuals will continue to inspire us to victory as we turn the tide against the enemy and annihilate those who work against the unity of our nation.
"In this season of hope, let us remember to provide refuge to those who cannot enjoy Christmas at home with their families, or have been driven from their homes by insurgency or violence, particularly the Internally Displaced Persons," he stated.
The president noted that the country had witnessed an upsurge in the activities of trans-border syndicates luring the youth to modern slavery through irregular migration.
He said while his administration had stepped up efforts to halt this "wickedness against the upwardly mobile generation, and have evacuated some of our compatriots stranded abroad we appeal to them to shun the allure of embarking on such perilous journeys."
President Buhari wished all Nigerians happy Christmas celebrations.
*Photo Caption - President Muhammadu Buhari