President Muhammadu Buhari recently sat with Martine Dennis of Al Jazeera in Qatar for an in-depth interview.
The journalist was up-to-date on the Nigerian economy and politics, and asked him the burning questions affecting everyday Nigerians.
On Falling Oil Prices
“We were unable to diversify our economy, hence we are much more disadvantaged by the lower oil prices.”
Nigeria in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)
“Nigeria will make the necessary sacrifice to remain in OPEC.”
“At least two millions Nigerians were killed in the Biafra war. And for somebody to wake up maybe they weren’t born. Looking for Biafra after two millions people were killed, they are joking with the security and Nigeria won’t tolerate Biafra.”
Devaluing the Naira
Nigeria “virtually imports everything, from rice to toothpicks”, it cannot afford to devalue its currency.
“If it is against our national interest, why can’t we go against the IMF advice?”
ForEx for Nigerian Students Schooling Abroad (from the 9 minute mark)
Martine: “What about those who are slightly more privileged like yourself? You’ve got children studying abroad. There are parents in Nigeria with kids in universities and schools abroad, who are now facing the possibility of having to pull their kids out. They can actually no longer afford to pay for school fees?”
Buhari: “If the country cannot afford it, so be it.”
Martine: “But your children will continue their studies, no doubt?”
Buhari: “Those who can afford it, can still afford it. But for those who can’t, Nigeria cannot afford to allocate foreign exchange for those who decided to train their children outside the country. We can’t just afford it.”
Martine: “So it’s tough luck.”
Buhari: “Well, that’s the true situation we are in.”
On Boko Haram
Al Jazeera reports, “Buhari’s election campaign rode on pledges to root out corruption and quash the armed group Boko Haram. Yet, Boko Haram remains active in many areas of Nigeria, seemingly able to strike at will.
He explains why he believes the security of his country is best served by being part of the Saudi-led Islamic anti-terrorism coalition announced in December 2015.”
Photo Credit: Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera | Source: Al Jazeera