12 September 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has said destructive activities of militants in the Niger Delta contributed largely to Nigeria’s economic downturn.
A statement from the Vice President’ office sent to our correspondent in Abuja quoted Osinbajo as saying that the country has lost 60 percent of its revenue and 40 percent of its gas supply to vandalism of pipelines since the return of militancy in the Niger Delta.
He noted that “One of the key reasons why we are in a recession is the fact that we lost about 60 percent of our revenue due to the vandalism of the pipelines on the Niger/Delta and we lost almost 40 per cent of the gas.
“I have strong belief that by the grace of God, we will be able to resolve that. Once we are able to resolve that, we would at least be able to earn more revenue. If revenue grows, it is an added advantage.
“These are challenging times, it is very obvious and we know the reasons. It is high-level of corruption and we have dealt with that. We are controlling government expenditure. Once you can control corruption, we are out of it,” he added.
Osinbajo, who is the chairman of the Federal Government’s economic management team, said President Muhammadu Buhari is determined to put things on the “right track,” adding that critics won’t deter the government.
Admitting that Nigerians are passing through a challenging time, he assured that the government was tackling the situation.
He added that Nigerians would soon be noticing “positive difference,” arising from the efforts of the government in tackling the economic crisis.
According to him, “We are focused and determined to ensure this country is put on the right track. There are lots of people, who will say where is the change promised? People will condemn and shout; but we are focused, calm and extremely confident that God is on our side and this country will not be the same.
“In another couple of years, we will see the difference. All of us have a part to play in the change. Nigerians must be patriotic in our dealings and daily activities. We should be committed to the nation.
“I strongly believe that this country is one that God has a hand in its affairs. In fact, the reason why President Buhari is in office is because God has a plan and hand in this nation; that this nation will be governed properly, that stealing of resources will stop and that we focus on issues of development,” Osinbajo said.
The vice president said part of government’s measures to revive the economy was to diversify into agriculture and solid minerals, adding that government had also observed many opportunities in manufacturing and technology to re-jig the economy.
He added that the government would soon begin the implementation of the 500,000 volunteer corps job opportunities and the micro-credit facilities to no fewer than a million market women and artisans.