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Elections: Buhari assures Nigerians, International Community, Observers of safety

President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday assured all Nigerians, the diplomatic community and all foreign election observers of their safety and full protection during and after the Feb. 16 and Match 2 general elections.

The president gave the assurance in a nationwide broadcast.

According to him, any comments or threats of intimidation from any source do not represent the position of the Federal Government.

He said: “As Government has a critical role in maintaining the democratic traditions, so do citizens.

“I therefore urge you all, as good Nigerians, to take a personal interest in promoting and maintaining peace in your respective neighbourhoods during the elections.

“This is certainly not a time to allow personal, religious, sectional or party interests to drive us to desperation.’’

President Buhari, therefore, made a special appeal to the youth not to allow themselves to be used to cause violence and destruction.

He said those people who wanted to incite them were those preparing the ground for discrediting the elections, who “having lost the argument,.. fear losing the elections.’’

On the economy, the president noted that the economic recovery promised by his administration “is well underway, as demonstrated by the recently released statistics.”

He observed that in 2018, “the economy grew by 1.93%, with the Fourth Quarter growth being 2.38%, up from 1.81% in the Third Quarter.

“Remarkably, the strong economic performance was driven by the Non-Oil sector, which grew at 2% as at full year. Indeed, Non-Oil growth rose to 2.7% in the Fourth Quarter of 2018, up from 2.32% in the Third Quarter.

“These results further underscore our commitment to diversifying the economy away from the past dependence on Oil.’’

According to him, other indicators confirm the economy’s steady recovery, saying that monthly food import bill has declined from 664 million dollars in Jan. 2015 to 160 million dollars as at Oct. 2018.

“Inflation fell from 18.72% in January 2017 to 11.44% in December 2018.

“Our External Reserves have risen from $23 billion in October 2016 to $43.12 billion as at 7th February 2019.

“Now that the recession is well behind us, our next task is to redouble our efforts, accelerate the growth and use it to create even more jobs for our people.

“The Executive Orders, No. 5, and No. 7 issued by me, and the recently approved National Infrastructure Maintenance Policy demonstrate our commitment to accelerated job creation and infrastructure development,’’ he said.(NAN)

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