Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed has said the Muhammadu Buhari-led government is winning the war against terrorism, banditry, and other forms of insecurity in the country.
This is despite the incessant attacks, killings, and kidnappings by Boko Haram/ISWAP insurgents and bandits in many parts across the country.
Mohammed, in an interview with BBC Africa on Thursday, said, “The good news is that the government is winning the war against insecurity, be it Boko Haram, be it banditry, be it the separatist, you know, movements. We are winning the war.”
But when asked how that was possible with the recent attacks on schools, Mohammed said, “I didn’t say that we stopped banditry or that we stopped. . .I said that we are winning the war against them. Even the safest country in the world will still witness crimes, you know, on a daily basis, but it is the response of that government to the crimes that makes all the difference.
“And I say, if the number of Boko Haram insurgents that have given up, their soldiers who have surrendered in the last few weeks is anything to go by, if the successes of the military (here I’m talking about both the Air Force and the ground force) is anything to go about in the war against bandits, we are winning the war.”
“Probably the world would better appreciate what Nigeria has achieved when they see that the US after 20 years, a trillion dollars down the drain, thousands of lives killed, it took the Talibans only a few weeks to come back. That is not happening in Nigeria,” he added.
Meanwhile, Katsina State Governor, Aminu Masari on Wednesday urged residents of the state in areas prone to activities of bandits to acquire weapons and defend themselves.
According to the governor, it is morally wrong for people to submit cheaply to the bandits without any attempt to defend themselves.
But Mohammed insisted that Nigeria is “winning this war and my evidence that we are winning the war is the number of casualties being suffered by the insurgents and by the bandits and there’s no better way of…you know, evidence that we are winning the war than when your enemies are surrendering their arms, you know, their soldiers are surrendering and you are taking them into camps to retrain them and to deradicalise them”.
Speaking on the government’s ban on Twitter, which came after the microblogging site deleted Buhari’s tweet in which he threatened South-Easterners, Mohammed insisted the American company was supporting secession agitations in the country.
He said, “If you are in government and you have a platform that preaches hatred, it becomes a platform of choice for separatists, it becomes a platform where one group is pitted against the other, I think you as a responsible government would rather suspend the operation of that organisation, rather than allow your country to disintegrate.
“That was what the media chose to believe. Nobody has denied the fact that during the #EndSARS protest, that Twitter raised funds for the #EndSARS protesters. If you raise funds for End SARS protesters and that protest leads to loss of lives, you are directly responsible for those loss of lives.
“And you see, it’s not the business of an international organisation or an international company to meddle into the internal security of a country. What they know nothing about.”
On the update on the talks with Twitter over the suspension of the ban, the minister said, “Well, all I can say is that we’ve engaged and it looks like we are making progress.”