(FILES) In this file photo taken on October 03, 2019 Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari looks on while giving a press conference during his official state visit at Union Buildings in Pretoria. - Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on February 17, 2021 condemned the abduction of schoolboys from a school in central Nigeria and ordered a rescue operation, his office said. (Photo by Phill Magakoe / AFP)

President Muhammadu Buhari has said that the country has achieved huge levels of progress in spite of challenges slowing down efforts at taking Nigerians out of poverty.

Buhari said in a message to the meeting of Northern governors on Thursday in Kaduna that his administration would continue to face the challenges and ensure peace and development of the country.

Represented by his Chief of Staff, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, the president appreciated the 19 northern governors for their contributions to national growth and development, amidst challenges and threats to national security.

“This meeting is coming at a time when the nation is making steady progress in addressing the many challenges impending development and progress.

“My administration is providing critical infrastructure such as road, rail, airport, amongst others, including power supply and other factors that are critical to the economic prosperity of our country, as well as opening up opportunities for citizens to pursue their legitimate aspirations.

“At the same time, we are confronting the various dimensions of security challenges that continue to slow down the emancipation of our people from poverty and economic degradation.

“The government will continue to deal with insurgents, bandits, kidnappers, and other criminals that constitute a threat to innocent citizens in the country.

“Criminals are criminals and will be dealt with accordingly without resort to ethnic profiling.”

The president said that the government had already tasked the new service chiefs to devise new strategies that will end the security challenges.

Buhari, therefore, tasked the meeting to find ways of bringing stronger collaboration with the security architecture, security personnel, and the people in defeating terrorism and criminality across the region and the nation as a whole.

He also urged them to quickly implement the reports of all the committees it had set up to find solutions to challenges facing the region.

“I assure the forum for support and collaboration in implementing some of the resolutions that will require the participation of the Federal Government.”

The Sultan of Sokoto, Dr. Sa’ad Abubakar III, assured the governors of the support of traditional rulers of the region.

He noted that the intervention of the governors had helped to de-escalate tension over recent attacks on northerners in Oyo and Ondo states.

“They have been doing a lot because as you all known it is always easy to destroy, but very very difficult to build, and destructions have been going on for decades, things have been going bad and they were not arrested.”

The Sultan commiserated with all the victims of kidnappings and killings in the north and the southwest part of the country but called for patience and perseverance as government handles the situation.

On Almajiri system, the Sultan advised the meeting to enroll all such students in formal schools and admonished parents to properly take care of their children.

“Just a few days ago, we have a very important seminar in Sokoto on this very Almajiri issue.

“We already have some possible solutions to this very big menace of our children going about begging for food and not exactly out there to look for Qur’anic education,” he said.

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