Today, October 1, 2014 marks Nigeria’s 54th year of Independence and President Goodluck Jonathan addressed the nation.
- Today marks the 54th anniversary of our country’s independence as a sovereign nation. This is also the tenth month of our journey into a new century, having marked the centenary of our nation in January this year.
2. The first one hundred years were marked by triumphs and tribulations, benefits and burdens, opportunities and challenges. We made some far reaching advances in building a strong, united and prosperous nation. We also overcame the forces of disunity that culminated in a debilitating civil war. We have also renewed our faith in one another, and in our country. We have proven that we are truly a resilient nation.
3. In my address to the nation last year, I did emphasize that we were in a sober moment in our country. We are still in that mood in spite of the many accomplishments of our administration. Our sombreness has to do with the crises of nationhood occasioned by the activities of terrorist elements who have done the unimaginable to challenge our unity as a people.
4. On an occasion like this, it is important that we remember all the precious souls that have been lost in the unprecedented war of terror unleashed on some parts of our country by these individuals who want to compel us to live our lives their way. They will not succeed!
5. In their mission, they have maimed and raped. They have killed men, women and children, rendering many children orphans and several women widows.
6. They have made violence their ideology and are bent on destroying our country. Dear countrymen and women, we will not allow them.
7. Night after night, day after day, our security forces continue to engage the terrorists in battle. My gratitude goes out to our armed forces whose will has been greatly challenged by this insurgency more than any other time, since the civil war.
8. Yet, they have remained undaunted and unwearied in the face of constant challenge and mortal danger. Driven by patriotic zeal, they are turning the tide by their prowess and determination. As Commander-in-Chief, I will continue to do all it takes to enable them to keep on inflicting devastating blows at the heart of terror. Fellow Nigerians, it is our collective duty as patriots to avail our men and women in uniform of all the support they need to fight and win this war.
9. This Administration is committed to making Nigeria safe for all Nigerians, irrespective of our places of birth, how we worship God and our political persuasion. To all those waging war against our country, I ask that you lay down your arms and embrace peace.
10. To those who have genuine grievances, I affirm that Nigeria will listen to you, if you bring your grievances to the table of dialogue. To the good people of Nigeria, let me restate that our task of building a better and greater country must not waver.
11. While we continue to deploy our resources in the fight against the terrorists, we do recognize the great toll the conflict is taking on our people.
12. This is why, to assist the afflicted, we have launched the Victims Support Fund, an independent multi-sectoral charity, which will aggressively solicit resources to augment Government’s statutory intervention, in bringing succour to the injured, the displaced and the bereaved.
13. In partnership with Nigerian business leaders and international partners, we have also introduced the Safe Schools Initiative which is aimed at promoting safe environments for education nationwide, starting with the North East region.
14. The Presidential Initiative for the North East, a comprehensive programme to fast-track the economic restoration of this region, which has been the epicentre of terrorist activity, has been set up.
15. Our overall