It is my pleasure to welcome Your Excellencies, members of the Diplomatic Corp to this year’s Iftar as we mark this Holy Ramadan. As Your Excellencies are aware, the month of Ramadan is a month which brings the spirit of not only closeness with our creator, but it is also a period of reflection and sharing love between all human race irrespective of nationally, colour or religious affiliations. Our gathering today is to demonstrate the lessons of the holy month of Ramadan and further express Nigeria’s commitment to maintaining cordial, friendly and harmonious relationship with your respective countries.
On behalf of the government and people of Nigeria, I wish to convey Nigeria’s appreciation through you to my colleagues for the support and peaceful co-existence which has contributed, in no small measure, to deepening the bonds of friendship and the subsisting cordial relations that so happily exists between Nigeria and your respective countries, toward attainment of the key pillars of my administration, i.e. diversification of the economy, good governance (anti-corruption) and security as well as the core objectives of the 2017-2020 Economic Recovery and Growth plan (ERGP).
You may recall the efforts of the Government in tackling the problem of insecurity since the inception of this administration in May 2015. The Government made every effort to contain the Boko Haram insurgency which bedevilled the country. I am happy to note that, at the moment, the Boko Haram insurgents have been degraded and normalcy gradually restored in the affected areas as we embarked on the task of rehabilitation and reintegration of the affected communities.
Let me assure you that Government is making every effort to bring the issue of insurgence to a complete end. We will continue to collaborate with our neighbours under the multilateral Joint Task Force to curtail the movement and operations of terrorist across our borders.
With peace comes development. As you are aware, this administration has taken bold initiatives to reposition the Nigerian economy on the path of sustainable growth and development. In the preceding years, Nigeria has continued to witness political stability and economic prosperity as acknowledged by World Bank 2017 economic rating on Ease of Doing Business Index for 2018.
I wish to assure Your Excellencies that we remain committed to creating enabling environment to attract Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) and boost private sector engagements between Nigeria and your respective countries.
Corruption is the single biggest menace to Africa’s development. As I mentioned in my inaugural speech; if we do not kill corruption, corruption will kill us. Corruption undermines development and impedes democracy and the rule of law. During the 30th African Union Summit in Addis Ababa held in January this year, the AU launched the theme for the year 2018 winning the fight against Corruption: a sustainable path for Africa’s Transformation and endorsed me as the AU Champion for the year. We shall count on your support to tackle corruption headlong, in order to bring about development, prosperity and well-being of our people.
Let me conclude once again by reiterating our commitment towards peace, security and development under the auspices of ECOWAS, the Africa Union and the United Nations as a core pillar in our foreign policy exertion. Thank you Your Excellencies for honouring this invitation.