President Muhammadu Buhari says there are some persons in his administration who are not “100 percent loyal” to his government.
Buhari was speaking in an interview he had with Al Jazeera during his recent trip to Qatar. He described the controversies surrounding the 2016 budget as unfortunate, saying those responsible for the embarrassment will not go unpunished. When asked if he meant there were those sabotaging his government, he replied: “Certainly!”
He added that those who want to be fair to his government will appreciate the effort made in cutting the cost of governance. “I will like people to assess Nigeria, especially this government on where we found ourselves. When we came in, we found out that there were 42 ministries and we found out that the economy could not take 42, so we reduced it to 24. We also removed 21 permanent secretaries,” he said.
“People who want to be fair to us to sit and reflect, from the president to the ministers to the permanent secretaries were all taken over after eight successive governments of those who are now in the opposition.
“So, we cannot assume that all of them are 100 percent loyal to this government.”
Buhari also spoke on the current state of the economy, saying not even the International Monetary Fund (IMF) could convince him to devalue the naira. “If devaluing the naira is against our national interest, why can’t we go against the IMF advice?” he asked.
Buhari said even though some of the policies of the Organising of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) do not favour Nigeria at the moment, the country would not pull out of the organisation. “OPEC as an organisation has to be mindful of economic conditions in each member country because that will influence that country’s ability to go along with OPEC decisions,” he said.
“We were unable to diversify our economy, hence we are much more disadvantaged by the lower oil prices and OPEC may try to help us out but really, it’s basically our own fault. It’s not under my leadership that Nigeria will pull out of OPEC. We will make the necessary sacrifice to remain in OPEC.”
President Muhammadu Buhari also said that he has not failed to deliver his promise of stopping the activities of the Boko Haram sect.
“I have not failed,” he said, and repeated it thrice.
The journalist had earlier told the president that when she interviewed him a year ago, he was emphatic that insurgency would have become a thing of the past by 2016.
“When we came in Boko Haram was effectively in 14 local governments. Nigeria has 774 local governments. They hoist their flags and they said they had a certain caliphate but today they no longer to hold any local government,” Buhari said.
When told that the sect still continues to kill people in the north-east, he responded: “They have reverted to improvised explosive devices blowing soft targets, and that will be a kind of terrorism which will be difficult to eliminate because it is technological, but they cannot hold any local government again.
“They are using technology but they cannot carry out organised attacks, overrun police post, attack military installations, they cannot do that now.”