By Harry Awurumibe, Editor Abuja Bureau
For the umteempt time, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has said the Nigerian military is winning the war against insurgency and banditry in the country.
The Minister who spoke to State House Correspondents after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday in Abuja, insists that terrorists and bandits have been done deadly blows inspite of their recent attacks on some soft targets across Nigeria.
Speaking specifically on the recent upsurge in bandits attacks in Kaduna, including the attack on military base in Kaduna, he argued that the military has decimated the bandits and terrorists.
Said he: “Yes, there was an attack on a military base in Kaduna state but what was not reported was the very timely and efficient manner it was repelled, and the huge casualty suffered by the bandits/terrorists”.
“I also have a video of the area interdiction by the military. I keep saying that this is an asymmetrical war in which we are not in liberty only to tell you how in details, how the camps of the bandits are being decimated daily. It is a war of attrition, but our military is living to the billing, our military is working day and night to ensure that the terrorists are neutralized”.
“We will continue to give information on the progress we are making in our fight against the terrorism but we can assure that we are on top of this matter”.
However, Mohammed lamented that the achievements of the military and the federal government in the war against insurgency and banditry are not getting front page news, saying that the negative stories are what are being heard.
Said he: “unfortunately, it is the story of second guessing that is going on and we will continue to give relevant information on the progress we’re making in our fight against the terrorism”.
“But we can assure you we’re on top of this matter and in any country in the world, while we are fighting terrorists, the oxygen they need is what is being provided daily today, which is they want to occupy the front page of every paper, they want to carry out spectacular attacks even when they are down”.
“This is where I think we also seek your support in understanding the mentality of terrorists, that even when they are dying, they will look for the soft underbelly that will keep them relevant, and enable them to get more money from their sponsors, more support from their sponsors”.
Asked if the federal government is listening to Kaduna state Governor who said the terrorists can be tracked as their conversations in the bushes are being listened to by the authorities, he said the bandits and terrorist are being uprooted from their hideout.
Said he: “I know that Monday, there was a very successful area interjection, where scores of not hundreds of bandits/terrorists were eliminated. Even when we’re able to identify where the bandits are, sometimes out of fear of collateral damage to the innocent civilians, you choose the time you want to strike”.
“But I just want to assure you that the administration is not unmindful of your anxieties and your concerns. But probably because we are in charge, we can assure you that there’s really, really no cause to feel that the government is overwhelmed, not at all. We are not overwhelmed and the last few days I think has confirmed that”.
“But unfortunately, when we inflict these victories on the bandits for many reasons, we do not come out and say we have killed so many. Because, it’s continuous. But very soon Nigerians would feel the impact of these victories”.