I did not hand over in 1999 under pressure – Gen. Abdulsalami Abubarkar

Former Head of State, General Abdulsalam Abubakar has said he was never pressured to hand over to a democratically elected government in 1999 as he only fulfilled the wishes of Nigerians.

Speaking to journalists at his Hilltop residence in Minna to mark the 61st Independence Anniversary celebration of Nigeria, Abdulsalami said what he did then was never expected by Nigerians.

” What I did was a fulfilment of the people’s desires, they never expected it and I was satisfied to have achieved’ he said.

Abdulsalami explained that before he handed over power in 1999, the military profession was faced with a lot of issues, insisting that it did not destroy the country as claimed by some Nigerians.

On secession agitations by some Nigerians, the elder statesman said the calls for separation were due to the perception of exclusion into the scheme of things and affairs of governance.

He called on government the to carry everybody along in terms of governance and appointments.

On the security challenges bedevilling the country, the elder statesman charged the federal government to do its best in strengthening security forces, recruit more personnel and equip them adequately to enable them confront criminals and protect the lives and properties of the citizens.

“More could be done, by strengthening our security forces, by increasing the number of people who are involved in the security detail. That means there should be more recruitment into the security forces and equipping them adequately so that they could face the challenge of providing security of life and property in the country” he stated.

The former Head of State also expressed concern over Nigeria’s debt profile, while advising that loans collected should be judiciously utilized for the purpose they were meant for to enhance development.

He urged Nigerians to eschew all forms of bitterness and embrace peace no matter the current challenges confronting the nation.

“Nigerians should always speak for the country and avoid local agitations, ethnicity, religious bigotry as being experienced in recent times.

” We should also sustain the NYSC scheme and restoration of MAMSA, NOA to educate and enlighten the masses on governments efforts, activities and achievements in every sphere of development,” he advised.


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