Malam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media, says Presidency will soon begin to hold town hall meetings with Nigerians to furnish them with information. Shehu made this known while answering reporters’ questions in Abuja on Sunday. According to him, government decided to embark on such meetings because it has realised the importance of information communication to the people at the grassroots.
“I know that there is a plan that the Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo would start town hall meetings in zones. It would then be broken down to the states and so on. Government realises that there is a need to take information to the people and there are steps that are being taken in order to ensure that is done,” he said.
Shehu criticised the National Orientation Agency (NOA) for being indifferent to the Federal Government’s change mantra.
“We have an agency like NOA with 773 offices nationwide. Each has not less than 5 to 7 staffs and well-equipped, but you know also, sometimes democracy has its own dark side. The President came and he wanted to really be fair to every Chief Executive. If he wanted to fire people on assumption (of office), he would have done it and he would not have violated any rule.”
“He decided to give everyone a chance to see whether they would imbibe the change mantra, to see whether they were prepared to go along (with him). I will say with all sincerity that NOA was a source of worry for us in government; the people and the leadership never believed in what we are doing.”
“They never believed in change. They just folded their arms and watched us for the period of 8 to 9 months that they were there. I believe the new leadership would begin to formulate things for agencies like that,” he said.
The presidential aide praised Nigerians for steadfastly supporting the present administration especially during a period most people considered to be difficult. Shehu congratulated Nigerians on the achievements the President had recorded fighting insurgency and explained that the military have tagged their success against Boko Haram a “technical victory’’ because no city is presently under curfew.
The SSA said that with the passage of the budget by the National Assembly, the next phase for the President would be to rebuild damaged facilities and infrastructure. He said that with the Central Bank of Nigeria realising more than N3 trillion through the introduction of the Treasury Single Account and the passage of the budget, a lot of activities would pick up.
On the quest by Nigerians to know the amount of money the Federal Government had so far recovered from treasury looters, Shehu said the litigation hurdles associated with the looted funds would have to be scaled before Nigerians were availed of the figures.