President Muhammadu Buhari has stated that he is having spending sleepless nights over how to make the country better, just has he commenced moves to address food scarcity and increase in food prices currently being witnessed across the country.
He has therefore ordered that 10,000 tonnes of grains should be released from the national strategic grains reserves for distribution nationwide.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, who stated this in a statement in Abuja on Sunday, also quoted Buhari as telling Nigerians that his promised change would not happen overnight.
Shehu added that the President had directed the Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, to assist able-bodied men and women currently holed up in Internally Displaced Persons camps across the country to return to farming.
He said the steps were aimed at easing the hardship being experienced by Nigerians.
Shehu said the Buhari administration should not be blamed for the current bad shape of the economy.
Instead of the President, the presidential spokesman said the Boko Haram sect and past administrations should be held responsible for the state of the economy.
He described insinuation that the current state of the economy was caused by the present administration as misplaced opposition criticism.
Buhari, who rejected insinuations that poverty and lack being experienced by Nigerians were products of the change mantra, dismissed this position as “an erroneous and misplaced opposition criticism.”
Shehu said, “The President understands the pain and the cries of the citizens of this country and he is spending sleepless nights over how he can make life better for everyone.
“Contrary to assertions by a faction of the opposition Conference of Nigerian Political Parties, the President’s energy and focus are on changing the life of Nigerians, with a view to making it better than he met it.
“Change is a process. Change does not happen overnight. Change can be inconvenient. Change sometimes comes with pain. Over the past year, the government has been working night and day to deliver on its promise of change to Nigerians, and the painful process is still ongoing.
“This is work in progress. As life gradually returns to normal in much of the country and the North-East in particular, agriculture will resume and traders from neighbouring African countries will once again feel safe to do business with us.”
Shehu said it was only when Nigerians appreciated where they were coming from that they would grasp the full meaning and essence of what the ongoing journey entails.
He cited an example of three North-East states which he said lost about N3trn ($9bn) to the Boko Haraminsurgency.
He recalled that the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan said Federal Government losses amounted to about $18bn.
The presidential spokesman said it would have been a miracle for Nigeria’s economy not to feel the effects of this.