President Muhammadu Buhari has said that the government will try to dialogue with Niger Delta militants, instead of fighting with them for the control of oil resources in the region.
He was speaking on Sunday, when the Minister of the FCT, Mallam Mohammed Bello, paid him a visit along with some residents of the city.
Buhari expressed regrets that some of his campaign promises have not been met, but was pleased with how he has handled security in the country so far.
The President also used the opportunity, to appeal to Nigerians to exercise patience with his administration.
He said: “I think it is good to select objectives and be honest about it and work towards it. It is now almost 18 months since we resumed here. We are very lucky. I believe some of you followed us during our campaigns and what we identified are still fundamental problems.
“The first is security, and we kept on saying whether it is an organization or a country, we have to first secure it before we can manage it properly. Without security, nothing can work.
“Secondly, the economy and the unemployment of able bodied persons. We look at left and right, from 1999 to 2014, the crude production was over 2.2m barrels per day. The average cost per barrel was $100.
“When we came, it was $37. I think it is now between $40 and $50. I asked for savings, there was no saving. I asked what they used the money to buy. They said they bought food and oil. I do not know how long it took me to recover from the shock.
“Some of you will recall either by history or discussion that it was cocoa, palm kernel, cotton, agro-allied industry that we used to build infrastructures; be it rail or school.
“We also used the produce to develop oil. When we got the oil, we threw everything away. We thank God this year, the harvest was quite good, otherwise, I do not know what we would have done. No money saved, no infrastructure built, power is still our main problem. Old roads have dilapidated and they needed to be repaired from Lagos to Kano, Port Harcourt up to Maiduguri. There are rail lines, we want to develop from Lagos to Calabar, from Lagos to Kaduna and the Abuja one.
“If we can get the infrastructure done, we cannot even know the number of Nigerians that will get job. So we have to get infrastructure. It will take tankers and other articulated vehicles off the road. We will save vehicles and we will save lives and we will get jobs for a lot of Nigerians.
“I want you to talk to people to be patient with the government. We are always thinking about our country and we are thinking about our people.
“God has given Nigerians. A lot of preachers and resources both human and materials, we better do the same thing for our children and grandchildren.
“I assure you that the country and the people of the country are always uppermost in our minds. Our performance in the North East, shows that this government is serious.
“For our friends in the Niger Delta area, we will persuade them that they should please sit down with us and agree to manage our resources rather than think of fighting it out.”