TEXT OF THE PRESS CONFERENCE ADDRESSED BY THE HONOURABLE MINISTER OF INFORMATION AND CULTURE, ALHAJI LAI MOHAMMED, IN LAGOS ON THURSDAY, 30 DEC, 2021 TO SHOWCASE THE ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE BUHARI ADMINISTRATION DURING THE OUTGOING YEAR 2021
Gentlemen, good morning, and thanks for honouring our invitation to this press conference which, in line with our tradition, we have called to brief you on the achievements of the Buhari Administration in 2021. In view of the long list of achievements and time constraints, we will go straight into the highlights and then provide you with a fuller list.
2. Let me admit straightaway that the year has not been devoid of challenges. For the outgoing year in particular, the major challenge has been that of insecurity. In spite of this and the usual economic
challenges, especially the dwindling resources available to the government, the Administration has availed itself creditably, as we will be demonstrating shortly.
3. As I said in my introductory remarks, our biggest challenge in the outgoing year is in the area of security. Despite the enormity of the challenge, our military has continued to live up to their billing.
We owe them a debt of gratitude for their patriotism and sacrifice. We just can’t appreciate them enough, as you will soon see when I break down their achievements in the year under review.
FIGHT AGAINST INSECURITY
4. To keep our country safe, the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) has set up various operations across the country. These include the Joint Task Force (JTF) North East, tagged Operation HADIN KAI covering the
North East region; the JTF SS, tagged Operation DELTA SAFE covering the South South region; the JTF NW, known as Operation HADARIN DAJI covering the North West region; Operation SAFE HAVEN covering Plateau, parts of Kaduna and
Bauchi States; Operation WHIRL STROKE covering Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba States; JTF SW, referred to as Operation AWATSE and covering Lagos and Ogun States; Operation THUNDER STRIKE covering Abuja-Kaduna Highway and Operation WHIRL PUNCH covering parts of Kaduna State.
5. Gentlemen, in the North East Zone under Operation HADIN KAI, a combination of kinetic and non-kinetic operations, coupled with a review of strategies, led to the neutralization of over 1000 terrorists, rescue of 2000 civilians and the surrender of over 22,000 terrorists including their families. Many arms and ammunition were also recovered. This is in addition to destruction of several IED/bomb making factories of the ISWAP/BHT. Under Operation HADARIN DAJI in the North West, the conduct of offensive clearance operations, raids and air operations resulted in the neutralization of about 427 bandits, arrest of 257 bandits, rescue of 897 civilians and recovery of 3,087 livestock. Similarly, Operation WHIRL PUNCH covering parts of Kaduna neutralized about 215 bandits, arrested 133 bandits, rescued 296 civilians and recovered 136 livestock, while Operation THUNDER STRIKE neutralized 36 bandits, arrested 74, rescued 296 civilians and
recovered 136 livestock. In the North Central, raids and clearance operations conducted by Operation SAFE HAVEN neutralized 91 criminal elements, arrested 155 suspects, rescued 159 civilians and recovered 3,259 livestock. For its part, Operation WHIRL STROKE neutralized 158 criminals, arrested 151 suspects and rescued 183 civilians. Operation DELTA SAFE in the South-South destroyed about 1,520 illegal refineries, confiscated 5,315 storage facilities and impounded 617 boats, amongst other items. Additionally, about 74,297,425 litres of Dual Purpose Kerosene (DPK), 41,971,693 litres of crude oil and 88,350 litres of PMS were recovered. Furthermore, 174 trucks and 13 vessels were impounded while 755 illegal oil bunkerers were arrested and 153 assorted weapons recovered. In the South West, patrols and clearance operations by troops of Operation AWATSE led to the arrest of 46 persons for various forms of criminalities while several vehicles, jerricans, motorcycles and electricity generators used for illegal bunkering were seized..
6. The effectiveness of the military was enhanced by the leadership provided by President Muhammadu Buhari and the unwavering commitment of the armed forces and its leadership. The procurement of modern platforms for the armed forces has also gone a long way in raising the level of their operational readiness and efficiency, in addition to boosting their capabilities. During the period under review, the Nigerian Army procured 160 MRAPS, 150 trucks and 60 APCs to improve its equipment holding. Various kits were equally provided for troops. This is in addition to the provision of accommodation for troops and the recruitment of over 10,000 personnel into the Army. The Nigerian Navy (NN), for its part, commissioned the FALCON EYE Maritime Domain Awareness Capability, the third locally-built Seaward Defense Boat, one helicopter, 4 inshore patrol boats and 90 Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats. Over 1,500 personnel were recruited into the Navy during the year. The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) took delivery of 12 Super Tucanos and 3 JF-17 Thunder Fighter Aircraft and other platforms with which it has conducted several Air interdictions, provided close air support to ground troops and destroyed several illegal structures and equipment belonging to terrorists, bandits and other criminal elements.
7. The Armed Forces of Nigeria has also contributed immensely to International peace and security efforts with its robust participation in the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) and the regional initiative, the ECOWAS Military Intervention in Gambia (ECOMIG). The Nigerian military’s continued participation in these Missions has ensured their viability and sustenance towards achieving their military and political goals.
Overall, the good news is that the military, in spite of its achievements, is not resting on its oars. The Military has assured that it is also poised, in fulfillment of its constitutional duties, to address the myriad of evolving contemporary threats, particularly as the 2023 elections draw nearer.
8. Still on the fight against insecurity, the implementation of the community policing initiative of the current administration has led to the training of 25,000 constabularies in several police colleges across the country. The successful officers who were trained on basic police duties, modern intelligence gathering techniques, rule of law, etc. were deployed to their Local Governments of Origin to aid in intelligence gathering and improve police visibility in their communities. Also, in an effort to improve the police/citizens ratio, 418 Cadet officers of regular course 3 were successfully graduated in June 2021 and deployed into the operational asset of the Nigeria
Police Force. Through the Police Trust Fund, 200 Buffalo branded vehicles, bulletproof vest, protective helmets, drugs, and medical equipment as well as arms and ammunition, riot control equipment, and combat equipment were procured for the Police Special Weapon and Tactical Squad (SWAT). The Ministry of Police Affairs has also entered into a contract agreement for the supply of police Anti Riot Equipment with Poly Technology of China through a Government-to-Government arrangement at a cost of 44 million U.S. Dollars. These equipment will go a long way in boosting the capacity of the police to control civil unrest in the most efficient and civil manner.
9. The recovery of the economy remained on a steady path throughout the year 2021. As you are aware, gentlemen, many countries around the world face unprecedented challenges, starting from 2020, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and Nigeria is no exception. The Nigerian economy was hit by the pandemic in mid- 2020, and the economic disruptions led to a recession. The poor performance of the economy during the COVID-19 era affected output growth, trade, household welfare and livelihood. However, this led to a quick response by the federal government with the rolling out of effective fiscal and monetary policies as well as health-related policies intended to curb the spread of the pandemic and mitigate the negative impact of the pandemic on the economy. This has yielded considerable results. For example, the country’s domestic growth in the first three quarters of 2021 was positive, recording real GDP of 0.51 percent in Q1, 5.01 percent in Q2 and 4.03 percent in Q3 2021, This was an improvement from a declining performance in the first three quarters of 2020 (which led to economic recession) put at 1.87 percent in Q1, -6.10 percent in Q2 and -3.62 percent in Q3 2020. Nevertheless, the fourth quarter 2020 recorded a slight improvement of 0.11 percent, ushering in positive growth rates in the three quarters of 2021. This economic performance in 2021 shows a steady improvement in growth over the last three quarters of 2020, and this can be attributed to government policies and strategies such as the Economic Sustainability Plan; the N500 billion COVID 19 Crisis Intervention Fund etc.
10. In the oil sector, real growth shows poorer performance in 2021, recording 2.21% (year-on-year) in Q1 2021, -12.65% in Q2 2021 and –10.73% in Q3 2021, from stronger growth of 5.06% in Q1 2020, -6.63% in Q2 2020, and -13.89% in Q3 2020. However, oil production in million barrel per day continued to decline in 2021, from 2.07mbpd in Q1 2020,1.81mbpd in Q2 2020, 1.67mbpd in Q3 2020 to 1.72mbpd in Q1 2021, 1.61mbpd in Q2 2021 and 1.57mbpd in Q3 2021. Non-oil sector indicated better performance of 0.79% in Q1 2021, 6.74% in Q2 2021 and 5.44% in Q3 2021, compared to 1.55% in Q1 2020, -6.05% in Q2 2020, and -2.51% in Q3 2020. In Foreign Trade, Nigeria witnessed dwindling performance in 2020, arising from trade restrictions on accounts of COVID-19 pandemic. Disruptions of trading activities driven by the pandemic further weakened the balance of trade witnessed in Q4 2019 in the subsequent quarters. Consequently, total imports in the first three quarters of 2021 rose by 57.13%, from N13.97 in the corresponding quarters of 2020 to N21.95 trillion. Similarly, total exports grew by 40.62%, which was N13.12 trillion in the first three quarters of 2021, compared to N9.33trillion in the corresponding period, an indication of improved trading activities although with a deficit position. Over the same period crude oil export improved considerably at N10.03 trillion, compared to N6.92 trillion, showing a growth rate of 44.93%, while Non-oil exports grew by 21.17% – from N1.19trillion to N1.44trillion over the same period. Inflation rate has continued to decline on a year-on-year basis since April 2021 when 18.12% was recorded. Looking at the trend, a declining rate was recorded from 17.93% in May to 17.01% in August, 15.99% in October and 15.40% November 2021. It is projected that proper implementation of the proposed 2022 project of N17.13trillion, and Medium-Term Expenditure Framework & Fiscal Strategy Paper 2022-2024 are likely to improve the performance of the economy.. Also, judicious implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act will likely improve oil production/sales stability; relatively high oil prices will enhance revenue performance and budget implementation, while strengthening security will improve output growth of the economy.
OIL AND GAS SECTOR
11. Undoubtedly one of the greatest achievements of the Administration in 2021, and indeed in the past several decades, was recorded in the oil and gas sector, a sector very critical to the nation’s economic well-being. The passage and signing into law of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) is a landmark achievement. Many have described it as the most profound event in the Nigerian oil and gas space in the last 20 years. The PIA is envisaged to foster investment in the industry and delineate responsibilities to the various institutions. Its key objectives are:
– to establish a commercialized National Oil Company (NNPC Ltd.)
– to entrench accountability and good governance
– to promote the exploration and exploitation of the petroleum resources in Nigeria for the benefit of all Nigerians as well as foster the sustainable development of the host communities.
12. Overall, the PIA serves to ensure the efficient and effective technical and operational regulation of the upstream, midstream and downstream sectors of the oil industry through the formation of the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission and the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Regulatory Authority, among others.
13. Also worthy of note is the transformation of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). The nation’s national oil entity has witnessed many changes and transformation through the decades. From its take-off on 1st April 1977 as a merger of the
Nigerian National Oil Corporation (NNOC) and the Federal Ministry of Petroleum and Energy
Resources, the NNPC – now re-christened NNPC Limited – has been undergoing the kind of transformation designed to re-invent the entity for greater efficiency and value creation. Yet, the changes and the unprecedented deluge of reformations in 2021 eclipse previous attempts to restructure the oil company. The tempo created with the passage and eventual presidential assent of the PIA was sustained with the quick activation of Part V of the new law which requires the incorporation of a commercial and profit-focused National Oil Company (NOC) within six (6) months of the passage into law. Thus, the NNPC Management – on behalf of the Federal Government – incorporated the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Limited under the Companies and Allied Matters Act. Under the new arrangement, NNPC Ltd will, on behalf of the Federation, take over assets, interests and liabilities of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
14. Another major achievement in the sector is the posting of a N287 billion profit, after tax, by the NNPC. It was the first time in 44 years that the Corporation has recorded such profit, which the NNPC attributed to aggressive cost cutting measures, cost savings through renegotiation of contracts by up to 30%, improved efficiency through business automation, emphasis on commercially-focused investment and non-interference in the management of the corporation’s affairs, among other factors. The construction/rehabilitation of 21 Roads under the Federal Government’s Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Scheme is also a major achievement. Recall, gentlemen, that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved N621.2 billion for the NNPC to take over the reconstruction of 21 federal roads across the six geopolitical zones of the country. The construction and rehabilitation of the selected roads are meant as strategic intervention under the Federal Government Road Infrastructure and Refreshment Tax Credit Scheme.
INFRASTRUCTURE – WORKS AND HOUSING
15. Without question, an area in which the present Administration has distinguished itself is in the provision of key infrastructures, which is important to the growth and development of any economy. In its efforts to provide basic infrastructure, especially roas and housing, the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing carried out the following projects in 2021.
(I) Nnewi-Uduma Road, Sections I and II (26.27km) in Enugu and Ebonyi States
(II) Kano-Maiduguri Road Section II (100.08KM), (Shuwarin-Azare) in Jigawa and Bauchi States
(III) Kano-Maiduguri Road Section III (Azare-Potiskum) 106.34km in Bauchi and Yobe States
(IV) Vandeikya-Obudu Cattle Ranch Road Phase I and II (24km) in Benue and Cross River States
(V) Sokoto-Tambuwal-Jega-Kontagora-Makera Road (304km)
16. Also, various highway and bridge projects at various stages of completion are ongoing across the six-geopolitical zones of the country. The bridges include the much-talked-about 2nd Niger Bridge, which is currently at 78% completion and is expected to be ready by November 2022. Ongoing work on the bridge consists of the construction of a 1.59km long bridge and 10.3km length of approach roads. The total length of the Main Work is 11.90km. The bridge and approach roads are 2×3 lane expressways. Other
ancillary works include the construction of two secondary bridges at Oko Amakun (21.70m) and Atani Road (21.70m). Also to be constructed is a new cloverleaf interchange at Onitsha-Owerri Road. Several culverts and drainage structures will also be constructed. There is also the 360-meter bridge at Ikom in Cross River State, which was completed in 2021 and awaiting commissioning; the 400-meter border bridge between Nigeria and Cameroon at Mfum and Ekok, which was also completed in 2021 and is now awaiting commissioning.
17. In order to ensure that the private sector participates in and contributes to the implementation of Federal Government Programmes, the Federal Ministry of works and Housing is developing a Highway Development and Management Initiative (HDMI), a framework for the private sector participation in road development. HDMI was created by the Ministry to manage and develop the Federal Road network, with the aim of attracting sustainable investment and funding in the development of road infrastructure and maximizing the use of assets along the right of way.
The rationale behind the private sector engagement under the HDMI is to provide an alternative avenue of financing road construction, management and maintenance. Out of the total length of the Federal road network of about 35,000km, the first phase of the proposed project will cover a total length of about 1,963.24km. Most of the ongoing projects of the Ministry, especially the Highways Development and Management Initiative (HDMI), are already attracting massive infrastructural investment. It is envisaged that over a trillion-naira direct investment will be mobilized in the first phase of the HDMI.
18. It is imperative to state that the policies, programmes and projects of the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing have contributed
to stabilizing the macro-economic situation of the country, particularly in job creation. The activities of the Ministry have further contributed to the growth of other sectors of the economy such as the Mining sector through the supply of aggregates, laterite, limestone and other building materials; Cement manufacturing, Bitumen (Importation) and steel production to support construction needs; the fact that property values are reportedly appreciating by 30%-40% as a result of road transport infrastructure and the growing demand for petroleum products like diesel, petrol, lubricants and tyres as a result of construction activities and the need to operate machines.
INFRASTRUCTURE – AVIATION
19. Key achievements recorded in the Aviation sector include the construction and installation of Boeing 737 full motion flight Simulator at the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) in Zaria, a development that will save Nigeria millions of dollars spent
in the retraining of pilots in other countries; the installation of fully-automated Aircraft Firefighter Training Simulator also at NCAT, the first of its kind in Africa; Re-fleeting of Trainer Aircraft in NCAT with six aircraft so far; installation of novel Cat III ILS/DME
at Lagos and Abuja airports, instruments that will allow flights to land at low visibility; Procurement of two mobile control towers in Lagos and Abuja and the designation of four International Airports in Abuja, Kano, Lagos and Port Harcourt as Special Economic Zones, aimed at encouraging business/investment. Investors in Aviation, under this project, are to have pioneer industry status so as to have tax breaks.
INFRASTRUCTURE – TRANSPORTATION
20. Definitely the most outstanding achievement in the transportation sector in 2021 is the flag-off of the commercial operation of the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail line in June 2021 by President Muhammadu Buhari. The trains are currently conveying goods and
services and reducing traffic and human pressure on infrastructural facilities on the Lagos-Ibadan highway. Then there was the ground-breaking ceremony for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Port-Harcourt-Maiduguri Eastern Narrow Gauge Railway project and the Bonny Deep Sea and Railway Industrial Park. The 2,044-km Port Harcourt-Maiduguri rail line cuts across Rivers, Imo, Anambra, Benue, Enugu, Ebonyi, Gombe, Yobe, Adamawa and Borno. President Buhari also performed the ground-breaking ceremony of the Kano-Kaduna standard gauge rail line modernization project in July 2021. The Project is a continuation of the Lagos-Kano rail plan. It is the third segment, with Lagos-Ibadan as well as Ibadan-Kano as the 1st and 2nd segments, respectively. Then, the MOU for the construction of the US$1.959 billion Kano-Maradi standard gauge line was signed with the Portugues firm Mota-Engil Group. This is part of on-going Federal Government’s initiative to provide inter-modal means of transportation across the country as well as enhance trade between Nigeria and some African countries. President Buhari subsequently performed the ground breaking of the project, which traverses the major commercial centre of Kano and passes through other economic hubs of the country, including Kazaure, Daura, Katsina and up to the border town of Jibiya and the city of Maradi in Niger Republic. On completion, the project would promote import and export of goods from the Niger Republic and other countries in the sub-region through Nigerian ports. The country would earn revenue through expansion of trade and commerce, while the people of Niger Republic will benefit from the ease of transportation logistics at an affordable cost in their import and export business.
The Federal Ministry of Transportation also launched the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure (also known as Deep Blue Asset). This is aimed at managing, controlling and protecting Nigerian waterways towards the advancement of coastal prosperity, as the Gulf of Guinea in recent times has become a hotbed for piracy.
INFRASTRUCTURE – WATER RESOURCES
21. Some 159 Rural Water Supply Schemes were constructed in the North-East, IDP camps and some Federal Institutions and Establishments by the Federal Ministry of Water Resources in the year under review.
In addition to the completion of 12 dams, the Ministry also embarked on the implementation of the Partnership for Expanded Water Sanitation and Hygiene (PEWASH) programmes with the construction of 926 rural water supply schemes in 12 States of Imo, Katsina, Jigawa, Plateau, Zamfara, Sokoto, Ondo, Osun, Delta, Bauchi, Kaduna and Gombe States.
Also, the Clean Nigeria Campaign has yielded the following results in the last 12 months, with 71 LGAs now Open Defecation Free. In the area of irrigation, 96,000 hectares of irrigation have been developed as of 2021. In line with the plan to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next ten years, the Ministry has ensured that both direct and indirect jobs are created in the implementation of its programmes/projects. A total of 57,261 direct jobs and 11,588 indirect jobs have been created through the various dam, irrigation and water supply projects completed within the reporting period.
NATIONAL SOCIAL INVESTMENT PROGRAMMES (NSIP)
22. The Federal Government has continued to implement the National Social Investment Programmes. On the directive of Mr. President, the N-Power has been expanded from 500,000 to 1 million beneficiaries. The Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) has been restructured to GEEP 2.0. The revamped GEEP 2.0 was officially launched on 24 August 2021 and has successfully registered over 600,000 potential beneficiaries in all the 774 LGAs nationwide through collaborative partnership with the National Orientation Agency. The National Home Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP) is also growing strong. As you know, the programme is designed as an incentive to boost school enrolment and improve nutrition of primary school pupils while sustaining the impact of agricultural and women entrepreneurs in communities to produce and provide a quality meal daily to pupils at
the basic education level. The NHGSFP aims to provide free school meals to 25 million children in the country by 2030. Currently, the programme is providing meals to nearly 10,000,000 school children nationwide. The programme has further empowered over 100,000 cooks and over 100,000 small holder farmers in the local areas where the schools are located, while creating employment opportunities across sectors such as transportation and manufacturing. The programme is being extended to children in non-conventional educational settings so that they may access its benefits. The Household Uplifting Programme (HUP), which has the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) as its flagship intervention, is designed to provide targeted financial transfers to poor and vulnerable households under an expanded national social safety nets system. Those enrolled in the programme benefit from monthly grants of N5,000 to smoothen consumption, stimulate demand and ensure survival directly in the household. Since inception, a total of 1,676,799 eligible households across the country are benefiting from monthly N5,000 grant, as of March 2021. This is in addition to the 1 million Urban Poor who are benefitting from the Conditional Cash Transfers, under the directive of Mr. President to further expand the programme due to the Covid-19 Pandemic
INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY SECTOR
23. The Digital Economy sector was highly instrumental in lifting the Nigerian economy out of recession. According to the Q4 2020 Report on Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector recorded the highest growth rate of all the sectors of the Nigerian economy. The breakdown of the different sectors shows that the 14.7% growth rate of the ICT sector was greater than the combined 14.21% growth of the 2nd to 7th fastest growing sectors in 2020. The telecommunications sector alone recorded a growth rate of 15.90%, representing its highest growth rate in the last 10 years. In the NBS report for the Q1 2021, the ICT sector maintained its position as the fastest growing sector of the economy. This therefore indicates that the Digital Economy sector has proven to be vital for the diversification of the Nigerian economy.
The National Digital Economy Policy for a Digital Nigeria reflects the focus of the Federal Government with respect to Nigeria’s Digital Economy, which was hinged on 8 strategic pillars. And as part of the efforts aimed at implementing the Policy, some of the projects implemented nationwide include:
– ICT Innovation Hubs
– Digital Skills for Entrepreneurs and Innovators
– Community IT Training Centers
– Tertiary Institution Knowledge Centers (TIKC)
– School Knowledge Centers (SKC), Digital Economy Centers, and Emergency Communication Centers (ECC), to mention but a few. Over 300 of these centers have been established all over the Country.
24. During the period under review, the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy – in order to ensure increased capacity download speed by up to 20 times and decrease latency – conducted a transparent bidding process for the provision of the 5G Network Service. Mafab Communications Ltd and MTN Nigeria Plc emerged the winners of the 3.5 gigahertz (GHz) spectrum auction.
25. Gentlemen, as you can see, this Administration, in spite of daunting challenges, made tremendous progress in 2021 in fighting insecurity, growing the economy, reforming the oil sector to spur more investments, emplacing world class infrastructure, providing social safety net for the poor and most vulnerable in the society and also taking advantage of the huge opportunities offered by the Information and Communications Technology Sector. What we have done here is to highlight the major achievements, hence this is by no means exhaustive. That’s why we are also giving you a list of 100 achievements of the Buhari Administration in 2021, Success is not
measured by the number of challenges you face, but by how you tackle the challenges. This is what the Administration has demonstrated by tackling insecurity headlong while also growing and diversifying the economy. We want to most sincerely thank all Nigerians for their support and perseverance. We want to reassure the nation that President Muhammadu Buhari is determined to leave a legacy of a safe, secure and prosperous nation. We urge Nigerians not to relent in supporting our security forces, who continue to make sacrifices to keep our country safe.
Finally, We thank you, gentlemen of the press, for always honouring our invitation. Best wishes for a better year for all in 2022.