The Federal Government said yesterday it would not allow anybody to hold Nigeria to ransom under any guise.
Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, who said this, added that the government was intensifying dialogue with stakeholders in the Niger Delta with a view to addressing security challenges in the region.
He restated the government’s commitment to making the business environment more conducive for local businesses to thrive by speeding up the process of formulation and implementation of strategies.
Osinbajo, who spoke at the 16th edition of the National Productivity Day and conferment of National Productivity Order of Merit Award on some individuals and corporate bodies, said the government was committed to its promise on the fight against terrorism, anti-corruption and the development of the economy to create jobs.
His words: “Boko Haram has been defeated and its members are only resorting to cowardly attacks on soft targets, killing innocent men, women and children. Despite this, the residents of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states, including several neighbouring states, are now going about their daily business in relative safety.
“Besides Boko Haram, a new insurgency has arisen in the form of blowing up gas and oil pipelines by groups of Niger Delta militants. This administration will not allow them to hold the country to ransom. While security is being beefed up in the areas, we shall intensify our on-going dialogue with the various stakeholders in the region.”
Restating the Muhammadu Buhari administration’s commitment to the country and the citizenry, Osinbajo said: “We are working tirelessly and will continue to do so with hard work, diligence and honesty. Delivery may be a bit slow, but the promised change will come in no distant time.
“Our economy is no doubt currently facing serious challenges. Before now, the economy had been purely monolithic having relied solely on oil as its major source of revenue.
“The dwindling oil prices and the disruption in supply occasioned by the insecurity in the Niger Delta made us to realise the urgent need for diversification of our economy with emphasis on sectors that will improve employment prospects for our young people.”
Osinbajo urged entrepreneurs to take advantage of the new opportunities to grow businesses, create jobs and wealth for themselves and the nation.
He said: “Nigeria’s current youth unemployment crisis has been attributed to lack of job, skills and experience. I am happy to note that the inclusion of entrepreneurship education in the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme enables the corps members to acquire skills in specific areas of interest.
“This not only makes them self-reliant and employers of labour; but also prepares them for value added work life. The Federal Government through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is providing N2.5 billion facility for the Youth Entrepreneurship Development Programme (YEDP).
“Specifically, Corps members with good business ideas and entrepreneurial skills will have access to the loan at single digit interest. It is my expectation that this programme, in addition to other ongoing interventionist programmes, will help to combat youth unemployment.”
He listed the payment of the N5, 000 monthly allowance to one million poorest and most vulnerable citizens, the recruitment of 500,000 unemployed graduates and the proposed training for 375,000 others without degrees, as some efforts of the government to reduce unemployment.