President Muhammadu Buhari has admitted that his administration still has a lot of work to do.
The President noted that his administration needed to build on the gains it had made in fighting terrorism in the North-East and in attaining peace in the Niger-Delta region.
Buhari made this known in an opinion he wrote, which was published by NewsWeek on Monday, to coincide with his official visits to the United States where he met President Donald Trump.
The Nigerian leader said climate change, amplified by rapidly growing population, was another challenge his administration was facing head-on.
“We are working hard to resolve these challenges – through improved law enforcement, peace- building efforts and necessary reforms in the management of our land and water resources.
“Last December, Nigeria became the first African country to issue Sovereign Domestic Green Bond to raise financing for clean energy infrastructure.
“Our commitment to restoring Nigeria to the path of growth and development is not in doubt.
“I am enormously confident that we can continue to count on the friendship and support of the American government and people, as we work to fulfil our vision of a Nigeria – Africa’s largest economy and most populous country – that is secure , stable and prosperous,” Buhari said.
The President disclosed that in the last two years , his administration had committed over $ 1 bn to upgrading road infrastructure, adding that a significant infrastructure initiative to modernise major national highways and complete the development of a 3 ,050MW hydroelectric power project had been established.
Buhari went further to explain that in addition to concession arrangement with an international consortium, his government had completed a $900m rail network linking Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, to one of the key agriculture hubs in the North; commenced construction of a $ 1 .2 bn standard gauge line to facilitate trade and travel between the commercial capital city of Lagos and two major cities in the south ; and was set to inaugurate West Africa’s first intra – city light rail projects in Abuja.
Buhari recalled that the US was one of the first countries he visited after he was inaugurated as President in 2015.
He described the trip as a necessary one aimed at rebuilding what “was at the time a troubled relationship” between the two countries.
He added, “I am pleased to note the success of the rapprochement; nowhere has the impact of this been more visible than in the remarkable progress we have made, with American support, in the fight against Boko Haram.
“Before my administration assumed office, the terrorist group controlled an area the size of Massachusetts, New Jersey and Connecticut combined.
“Today, they are a substantially degraded force, with a capacity limited largely to cowardly attacks on soft targets.
“The Global Terrorism Index report for 2017 indicated that the number of terrorism-related deaths in Nigeria attributed to Boko Haram dropped by 80 per cent in 2016.
“An arms sales embargo imposed on Nigeria by the US government during my predecessor’s time in office has since been lifted. When President Trump and I spoke on the telephone in February 2017, he expressed full support for the sale of US- built A – 29 Super Tucano aircraft to Nigeria, to boost the capacity of the Nigerian Air Force to respond decisively to the threat of terrorism and banditry.
“That deal has now been finalised; I expect that we will continue to enjoy similar levels of the US enthusiasm in our security cooperation.
“Only two weeks ago , our two armed forces collaborated to host in Abuja, Nigeria, the largest gathering of African Army chiefs to discuss cooperation aimed at improving security on the continent.”
Buhari said his administration came to office on the back of a three- pronged agenda: “To secure the country, rebuild the economy and to determinedly fight corruption – “the biggest single threat to development and the prosperity of our Nigerians.”