Tough times await illegal arms bearers- Buhari

Hauwa Mustapha

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Hard times await those threatening the peace of the country, President Muhammadu Buhari has warned.

Those bearing arms illegally have been killing security men, abducting people and school children in parts of the country, he said that they will be crushed so that the people can live in peace.

The President spoke at the All Progressives Congress (APC) youths conference in Abuja.

He said, “As I have repeatedly said in recent weeks, every criminal element that has taken up arms against the peace of the country and its citizens will be brought to book accordingly.

“As you are all aware, we are currently dealing with some internal security challenges and I will like to reassure you that as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, no effort will be spared in tackling them.”

President Buhari, who was represented by Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Boss Mustapha, did not identify those he was referring to.

The youth leader in the APC national caretaker committee, Ismael Ahmed, said the event was to galvanise the progressive movement.

The communiqué of the conference proposed the engagement of no fewer than 10,000 youth members of the APC in critical positions in 2023.

Ahmed, who signed the communiqué, said with the President’s pledge to ratify the resolutions, the future is bright for youths in the party.

Ahmed said to achieve 10,000 slots for youths in government and political positions from 2023, the age of councillorship candidates should be fixed at 30 years and below.

The age of chairmanship candidates of local government should be 40 years and below, he said.

He urged the President to mandate the appointment of at least one youth representative of not more than 40 years at the board and management team of all ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).

According to Ahmed, except for the position of Chairman and the deputies, persons of not more than 40 years should deputise every other party position at all levels, national, state, local government and ward.

Ahmed said this will be a legacy for President Buhari apart from strengthening the party.

The conference was attended by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Senate President Ahmad Lawan, ministers and the Chairman of the APC Caretaker Committee Governor Mai Mala Buni, among others.

Commending the Youth wing of the party for organising the conference, the President urged APC youths to forge a better future for the party and the country.

He advised youths to seize the opportunity to put past unpleasant experiences and controversies behind them.

The President said, “Never despair, nor relent in our joint task of nation-building. Remember, we have no other country but Nigeria. It is the responsibility of every one of us to work towards the development and advancement of this country.”

He said conscious efforts were being made to evenly spread infrastructural development, appointments and projects across all the regions, insisting that the impact of his administration is felt across the country.

“So far, all the policy initiatives, projects and even appointments by this administration have been guided by equity and inclusiveness.

“There is actually no part of the country that has not been impacted positively in the areas of infrastructure, agriculture and economic support initiative based on peculiarities of the regions,” he said.

Ahmed listed the achievements of the Buhari government to include the Conditional Cash Transfer Programme with over 2.5 million traders and market women supported through the TraderMoni and Market Moni Programmes.

“The over 3.1 million farmers supported through the famous Anchor Borrows Programme to ramp up local food production and preserve forex; the price of fertilizer crashed from pre-2015 price of N11,000 to N5,500 supporting millions of farmers.

“Over 1000 km of roads infrastructure is being delivered with the iconic Second Niger Bridge now over 60 per cent completed and on course for completion by 2022, among many more pro-poor, inclusive, populist and progressive programmes.”

Vice President Osinbajo urged the youths to play a more active role in the economic and political future of the country.

The Vice President, who was the guest speaker at the conference with the theme: “The Future is a Decision,” said more political participation by the majority of the country’s youths would, more importantly, help them to contribute to making meaningful changes which only those in government can bring about.

Osinbajo added: “It is evident just from voter-turnout alone that the vast majority of young people either do not register to vote or do not vote. Those who even participate at all would rather engage within the very constrained space of social media platforms or join pressure groups.

“Neither of these is necessarily bad, but while media engagements and pressure groups may draw attention to the issues, they do not transform the lives of millions for good or ill. So, if you are keen on how the future will turn out, you must be involved in politics.

“Growing up, I was also in a number of pressure groups, concerned with corruption, human rights and democracy. I wrote papers and argued at conferences but it was only in 1999 when the AD won elections in Lagos that I was able to serve as Attorney-General, and working with several colleagues, we carried out a major reform of the justice sector in Lagos State. We had to participate politically, otherwise, all our great ideas may never be tried.

“While you all must be commended for joining and remaining a part of a political party, the major numerical force in our society, which you represent, is not engaged as yet. You have a duty to persuade, evangelise and recruit them”.

The Nation