President Muhammadu Buhari has declared that the poor and vulnerable in Nigeria remain top priority for protection and lifting from the poverty cycle.
He assured Nigerians that social safety nets would be further sustained, while access to education and opportunities would be expanded.
President Buhari, who made the comment in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia at the official presentation of the Country Review Report of Nigeria to the 31st Africa Peer Review Forum of the African Union, said the government would also take advantage of Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) to ensure inclusiveness, access and create more opportunities.
“Nigeria’s strategic focus, as we set out to achieve the objectives of the African Union Agenda 2063, has been around the following: building a thriving and sustainable economy; enhancing social inclusion and alleviating poverty; enlarging agricultural output for food security and sufficiency; and attaining energy sufficiency in power and petroleum products.
“Others are: expanding transport and other infrastructural development, business growth, entrepreneurship and industrialization; access to quality education, affordable healthcare and productivity; social cohesion and security; and, building a system that fights corruption and improve governance,” Buhari said.
He told the AU leaders that Nigeria remained resolutely committed to achieving these set goals despite the challenges that the report highlighted, including the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria remains committed to providing social safety nets for the poor and most vulnerable in our society, while also taking advantage of the huge opportunities offered by the information and technology sector,’’ he said.
The President reiterated that Nigeria had remained a committed and dedicated member of the African Peer Review family, after acceding to the mechanism in 2003.
“Today, the forum has presented its second peer review report on Nigeria. This Second Peer Review of Nigeria came at a critical time in the history of the country. From the report just presented, there is no doubt that the exercise was far reaching, as it touched the various segments of Nigeria’s political-economy and highlighted the progress recorded since the first peer review.
“The report also highlighted some challenges and as a country, we are prepared to review those challenges in the context of our internal dynamics in Nigeria, ultimately with the determination of achieving Agenda 2063 goals of the African Union,’’ he added.
Buhari said Nigeria remained grateful to be at the esteemed Forum of the Heads of State and Government, which provides a unique opportunity to present the Country Review Reports of some countries, including the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“I use this opportunity to commend the President of South Africa for his dedication to the Forum since his election as the Chairperson of the African Peer Review Forum.
“I also recognize the distinguished Panel of Eminent Persons for their continued good work in steering the African Peer Review Mechanism process in all member countries. I recognise specifically, Dr. Abdoulie Janneh who led the Review Mission to Nigeria,” the President said.
President Buhari congratulated the three countries (Namibia, Niger and South Africa) that had been reviewed alongside Nigeria, commending the boldness and courage to present their countries for the comprehensive exercise.