President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday addressed Nigerians as the country marks Democracy Day on June 12. The address, which was televised nationwide, lasted for just over 20 minutes. According to the President, Democracy Day “is a celebration of freedom, and victory for one people, one country and one Nigeria.”
The President’s address came as thousands of Nigerians readied for protests across the country over issues such as insecurity and freedom of speech. While acknowledging that Nigeria was still on its way to become a “mature democracy”, the President said the country has witnessed and overcome, in the last two years, “a good number of testing challenges that would have destroyed other nations, especially relating to our collective security.” “The indefatigable, can-do spirit of the Nigerian has sustained us and will keep pushing us to put these challenges behind us,” the President said.
“Unfortunately, some of these challenges came in the shape of violent outrages, leading to loss of lives of many of our dear compatriots and the destruction of some of our infrastructure, including those devoted to improving our democratic processes.” The President offered his condolences to those who have lost their lives in such violent incidents, including serving security officials. “Let me assure my fellow citizens,” he said, “that every incident, however minor, gives me great worry and concern. And I immediately order security agencies to swiftly but safely rescue victims and bring perpetrators to justice.”
The President added that while his administration is seeking to bring criminals to justice, it is also working to address the roots of insecurity, which he described as poverty and youth unemployment.