President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, said the poor and vulnerable in Nigeria remain a top priority for protection and lifting from the poverty cycle, assuring that social safety nets will be further sustained, while access to education and opportunities will be expanded.
Speaking at the virtual official presentation of the Country Review Report of Nigeria to the 31st Africa Peer Review Forum of the African Union, President Buhari said the government will also take advantage of information, communication, and technology to ensure inclusiveness, access and create more opportunities.
“Your Excellencies, Nigeria’s strategic focus, as we set out to achieve the objectives of the African Union Agenda 2063, has been around the following: Building a thriving and sustainable economy; Enhancing social inclusion and alleviating poverty; Enlarging agricultural output for food security and sufficiency; Attaining energy sufficiency in power and petroleum products.
“Expanding transport and other infrastructural development, business growth, entrepreneurship, and industrialization; access to quality education, affordable healthcare and productivity, social cohesion and security; and, building a system that fights corruption and improve governance.
“Nigeria remains resolutely committed to achieving these set goals despite the challenges that the report highlighted, including the COVID 19 pandemic. The government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria remains committed to providing social safety nets for the poor and most vulnerable in our society, while also taking advantage of the huge opportunities offered by the information and technology sector,’’ he said.
Presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, in a statement said President Buhari reiterated that Nigeria had remained a committed and dedicated member of the African Peer Review family, after acceding to the Mechanism in 2003.
“Today, the forum has presented its second peer review report on Nigeria. This Second Peer Review of Nigeria came at a critical time in the history of the country. From the report just presented, there is no doubt that the exercise was far-reaching, as it touched the various segments of Nigeria’s political economy and highlighted the progress recorded since the first peer review.
“The report also highlighted some challenges and as a country, we are prepared to review those challenges in the context of our internal dynamics in Nigeria, ultimately with the determination of achieving Agenda 2063 goals of the African Union,’’ he added.
President Buhari said Nigeria remains grateful to be at the esteemed Forum of the Heads of State and Government, which provides a unique opportunity to present the Country Review Reports of some countries, including the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Let me use this opportunity to commend the President of South Africa for his dedication to the Forum since his election as the Chairperson of the African Peer Review Forum.
“I also recognize the distinguished Panel of Eminent Persons for their continued good work in steering the African Peer Review Mechanism process in all member countries. I recognize specifically, Dr. Abdoulie Janneh who led the Review Mission to Nigeria,” the President said.
President Buhari congratulated the other three countries (Namibia, Niger, and South Africa) that had been reviewed alongside Nigeria, commending the boldness and courage to present their countries for the comprehensive exercise.
“I call on other member states to join us and present themselves for review as well. There are so many lessons that we can all learn together. It is from learning these lessons and recommitting ourselves as a continent that we all can contribute to our collective efforts to achieve the objectives of the ‘Africa We Want’”.