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Boko Haram would have captured Aso Rock — Garba Shehu

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The Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, has said if not for the Muhammadu Buhari administration, Boko Haram would have taken over Aso Rock in 2015.

He also said that Nigeria now ranks as the world’s second largest producer of rice.

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Shehu said this at a special interactive session with students of various tertiary institutions, in Abuja, on Saturday.

The event was organised by a group, Pro-Buhari Support for Good Governance in Nigeria.

He assured the members of the group that their support for the President would not be in vain, noting that as an individual, Buhari had attained heights most men could only dream about.

According to him, in his youth, the President chose a career in the military and rose to become an army general before becoming a military Head-of-State.

On the war against Boko Haram terrorists, Shehu said, “Look at all the efforts that have been put in place to roll back Boko Haram; there are many people who believe that if not for President Muhammadu Buhari, had PDP continued in this country in 2015, they would have taken over the Aso Rock Villa by now.”

On the economy, he said, “The President is working hard to restructure the economy. This is very much misunderstood by Nigerians. Unfortunately, it is easier to destroy than to build.

“We met a situation in which the economy had been ravaged and people were used to lifestyles that can no longer be sustained. No country will develop when you have to import everything, including toothpick and tissue paper.

“All of the money earned was just going to buy food. As I speak to you now, Nigeria just achieved the record of (being) the second largest producer of rice in Africa.

“The rice revolution just started a year ago. A newspaper did an investigation in Kebbi and they found out that there are 48,000 new millionaires in Kebbi State alone — for growing rice. Over reliance on oil has killed this country and we cannot continue like this.”

The Presidential aide, who admitted that the administration failed to meet its promise of creating half a million jobs in 2016, explained that it was because the economy could not support it.

He, however, said by the end of the year, the administration had created more than 300,000 jobs with the balance being carried into the New Year.

The Presidential spokesman further explained that Buhari was a long distance runner who was determined to build a solid future for the nation’s youths.

This, he said, informed his decision to pursue the anti-corruption war with all the seriousness it deserved because unless the corruption monster was dealt with, the nation’s future would be bleak.

On the administration’s war on corruption, Shehu said, “People were stealing money, huge amounts of money, the kind of money that they don’t need, what do you need that kind of money for? Look at the one from Kaduna. Yesterday, I was at another event and they said the man’s aunt said she wanted food, he said there was no money.

“Look at the huge amount of money in a neighbourhood that had no electricity, no road, no water. In the same compound, you had low-level working Nigerians. They didn’t know they resided in a compound billions of naira was kept.”

Speaking in a similar vein, one of the panellists at the event, Tahir Umar, identified greed, poverty, illiteracy, among others, as reasons responsible for corruption. He argued that the country had lost over a trillion naira to corruption over the years.

Meanwhile, the Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, has said politicians should allow President Muhammadu Buhari to enjoy his rest and stop disturbing him with needless visits.

He also said he remained a committed member of the Peoples Democratic Party loyal to the Ahmed Makarfi-led faction despite the Court of Appeal judgement recognising Ali Modu Sheriff as the national chairman.

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