All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate Gen. Muhammadu Buhari yesterday likened a bad government to armed robbery, kidnapping and terrorism.
He urged Nigerians to avoid such dangerous acts by voting into office a government capable of addressing their needs.
Speaking at a Town Hall meeting in Abuja, Gen Buhari said: “I believe that a bad and corrupt government is a much danger to national security as armed robbers, kidnappers and terrorists. I want to commend our armed forces for their recent successes over the Boko Haram.”
He recalled that as military Head of State between January 1984 and August 1985, he increased Nigeria’s refineries from one with a capacity to refine 50,000 barrels per day to four, with refining capacity of 450,000 barrels per day without borrowing.
He explained how he resisted pressure to devalue the naira and remove subsidy on petroleum products and challenged anybody to dispute his claim of not borrowing money to build the refineries.
Buhari said he used Nigerian money to build the refineries, lay over 300 kilometres of pipeline and built more than 20 depots across the country, adding that if Nigerians must be asked to pay more for petroleum products, the payment must reflect on the state of economy.
He said: “When we came into power in December 1983, we were approached by the world power at some stage to devalue the naira, remove petroleum subsidy and remove subsidy on flour, but we refused.
“The issue was that of we getting plenty of naira and what we were going to do with it. We even stopped farming and the only thing we got money from then was oil and that was being paid in dollars. If you have excess of groundnut, cocoa, cotton or palm oil, you sell it in foreign exchange. If you devalue the currency, the naira will be affected and Nigerians will get their goods and services
“I was told to remove subsidy on petroleum and because I had the honour of being in charge of petroleum for three and half years, I don’t know who is subsidising who?
“To the best of my knowledge then, It is Nigerian petrol and Nigerian cash was used to develop the refineries up to the time I was there.
“We did not borrow a kobo for that development. I challenge any Nigerian to dispute this.
The former Nigerian leader said the question of sacrifice as a leader must begin at all levels. “When you are not corrupt, you will not tolerate corruption. Those who dare you; will find out the consequences.”
He said the issue of the Chibok girls had become the greatest embarrassment the Nigerian nation had ever faced, saying that since independence, the Nigerian nation had never been subjected to this type of embarrassment.
He said: “I have said that the APC as a party has identified three fundamental problems in this country. They are insecurity, the destruction of the economy and corruption.
“The state of insecurity as we said when the election was extended by six weeks is that if the Nigerian government and the military could not tame Boko Haram for five years, what will they do in six weeks. But I think that some positive moves have been made.
“The first thing they should have done is to make sure that you have a good plan to take care of the welfare of the law enforcement agents. You can’t send someone on an operation for months when his family is living in wants without medical care, no school and no good neigbourhood and you want him to serve the country.
“So, if you get disappointed now that soldiers on road block have started saying “wetin you chop remain” as many of their colleagues were doing many years ago. In the good old days, there were barracks with schools, health Centres and when a soldier goes into an operation, he will think about his family and he will know that they are safe.
“I think that the issue of the Chibok girls is really a great embarrassment to this country. Since independence, I don’t think we have been reduced to such a position as a nation as the disappearance of 220 girls between the ages 14 and18 for almost a year and government couldn’t do anything about it and this is the same government that says it wants to remain in place”
Gen. Buhari also said: “I find it personally embarrassing that a gang of terrorists have better equipment and better motivated than our military. Under an APC government, this will not be allowed to happen. We will equip our military and provide them with the right incentives to ensure that they are very firm in the defence of their country. We will also ensure and refocus our internal security structure.
“The total security concept reflect directly on improving the quality of the lives of our people and rebuilding the economy.
“Even if we have the best police, we will not be able to guarantee total security as long as 53 per cent of our youths remain unemployed and 70 per cent of our people are living below the poverty line.
“These are all the issues that my party and myself are committed to. It is along this line that we have promised a regretting plan for the Northeast and it is based on ensuring that never again will our country experience the type of human tragedy currently going on in that part of the country”.