Deji Elumoye in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has assured that his administration is committed to lifting poor and vulnerable Nigerians out of the poverty line.
According to him, the poor and vulnerable in Nigeria remain the top priority for protection and breaking out of the cycle of poverty, noting that social safety nets will be further supported, while access to education and opportunities will be expanded.
Speaking in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa on Friday at the virtual official launch of Nigeria’s national review report at the 31st African Union Peer Review Forum for Africa, President Buhari said said the government would also leverage information, communication and technology (ICT) to ensure inclusiveness, access and create more opportunities.
“Your Excellencies, Nigeria’s strategic direction as we set out to achieve the goals of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 has been around the following: Building a prosperous and sustainable economy; enhancing social inclusion and reducing poverty; increase agricultural production for food security and self-sufficiency; achieve energy self-sufficiency in electricity and petroleum products.
“Expand transport and other infrastructure development, business growth, entrepreneurship and industrialization; access to quality education, affordable health care and productivity, social cohesion and security; and building a system that fights corruption and improves governance.
“Nigeria remains steadfast in achieving these goals despite the challenges highlighted by the report, including the COVID-19 pandemic. The Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria remains committed to providing social safety nets to the poor and most vulnerable in our society, while taking advantage of the enormous opportunities presented by the information and technology sector,” a- he declared.
The Chair reiterated that Nigeria has remained a committed and dedicated member of the peer review family in Africa, having joined the mechanism in 2003.
“Today the forum presented its second peer review report on Nigeria.
This second peer review of Nigeria came at a critical time in the country’s history. From the report just presented, there can be no doubt that the exercise was far-reaching as it touched on the various segments of Nigeria’s political economy and highlighted the progress made since the first peer review.
“The report has also highlighted some challenges and as a country we are ready to look at these challenges in the context of our internal dynamics in Nigeria, ultimately with the determination to achieve the goals of Nigeria’s Agenda 2063. African Union,” he added.
According to him, Nigeria remains grateful to be at the esteemed Forum of Heads of State and Government, which provides a unique opportunity to present the country review reports of selected countries including the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
He said, “Allow me to take this opportunity to congratulate the President of South Africa for his dedication to the Forum since his election as Chair of the African Peer Review Forum.
“I also acknowledge the distinguished Panel of Eminent Persons for their continued excellent work in leading the African Peer Review Mechanism process in all member countries. I particularly acknowledge Dr. Abdoulie Janneh who led the review mission to Nigeria.
President Buhari congratulated the other three countries (Namibia, Niger and South Africa) that had been reviewed alongside Nigeria, hailing the boldness and courage to field their countries for the full exercise.
The Nigerian leader called on other member states to join in and also come forward for consideration.
“There are so many lessons we can all learn together. It is by learning these lessons and re-engaging as a continent that we can all contribute to our collective efforts to achieve the goals of ‘the Africa we want’,” he added.