President Muhammadu Buhari, on Saturday promised to pursue peaceful measures towards resolving the militancy crisis rocking the Niger Delta region.
In a New Year message to Nigerians, Buhari urged militants from the oil rich region to come out and negotiate with his government.
Appealing to the Shia community to align themselves with the laws of the country by embracing peace, he urged security agencies to “treat them humanely and according to the rule of law.”
According to Buhari, “We will continue to pursue peace initiatives in the Niger Delta as I again call on our brothers in that region who have taken to violent disruptions of economic infrastructure to come to the negotiating table.
“As for our brothers and sisters of the Shia Community, we urge them, too, to embrace peace. They must accept the laws of the country they live in.
“They cannot be islands by themselves. At the same time, the law enforcement agencies must treat them humanely and according to the rule of law.”
Also, Buhari admitted that his administration made some mistakes in its handling of the affairs of the Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs.
He promised that his government will explore measures to correct the mistakes and ensure perpetrators face justice.
“Government is aware of some mistakes and wrongdoings in handling the affairs of IDPs. We are taking measures to correct those mistakes and punish the culprits.”
Buhari assured Nigerians that the change they yearned for, which made them vote him in 2015 will manifest in 2017.
“I am optimistic that the change we all yearned for in voting this administration to power in 2015 will manifest more and be sustained in different sectors, particularly agriculture, in 2017.
“As you may be aware, our economic recovery and growth plan in 2017 is anchored on optimising the use of local content and empowering local businesses,” he said.
Stressing that his administration was getting things right, the President assured that his performance would be better, especially in agriculture, in the incoming year.
He said, “I am encouraged that we are getting things right. The agricultural revolution has begun.
“Farmers in different parts of the country are experiencing bumper harvests; states are getting into strategic partnership towards attaining self-sufficiency in rice, and the era of over-dependence on oil for foreign exchange revenues is gradually waning.”
On the issue of security, Buhari said, “The federal government will spare no effort in seeing to the resettlement and rehabilitation of the unfortunate victims of terrorism and insurgency. I urge state governments, privileged Nigerians, donor agencies and countries to redouble their contributions towards this goal.
“In this New Year, I want to reassure all Nigerians that our defence and security forces are more than ever before ready to perform their constitutional role of protecting lives and property in the country; and we will surely overcome all other forms of security challenges.”