By Yusuf Alli, Abuja
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has said that the military and political leaders are addressing security challenges in the South-West.
He pleaded with Nigerians and different ethnic groups to “lower the temperature.”
He, however, insisted that the security situation in the county now is better than what President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration inherited in 2015.
Mohammed, who gave the Federal Government’s position at a briefing in Abuja, said efforts are being made to contain security issues in the South-West.
The Minister said: “Yes, we have challenges in the South-West but I can assure you it is being taken very good care of.
“Both military and political leaders are on top of the matter.”
Pressed further on the situation in the South-West Mohammed said:” I think my response to it is that we should please lower the temperature. And we should stop politicizing security matters. We should stop reading ethnicity or religion to purely security issues.
“And like I told you, as I speak now, efforts are being made to contain these issues and other issues.”
Mohammed insisted that the nation’s security situation is as better than before President Muhammadu Buhari was elected in 2015.
“ I have no hesitation in saying yes that Nigeria today is facing security challenges but it is by far better than what we met. What do I mean?
“Prior to 2015, bombings, suicide bombings, by Boko Haram were taking place in at least 12 states of the federation. They were Plateau, Kano, Kaduna, Bauchi, Yobe. Not even Abuja was spared.
“Again, before now, hardly a day passed without one extremist blowing himself or herself up in market places. When last did you see that?
“Prior to 2015, how many local governments in the entire North-East could open their roads; how many schools were operating there? I personally went with some of you here on December 5, 2015 to Bama, Konduga and Maiduguri.
“Between Maiduguri, Kauri and Bama (about 78 kilometers), we did not meet a singular vehicle on the road. When we got to Bama, there was no single house standing.
“So, when people compare 2015 to today, I think it is because we get used to good things, we forget the bad things. How many times did Boko Haram visit Abuja prior to 2015? How many media houses were victims of Boko Haram bombing? Yes, we have challenges, like all over the world, and we are rising to those challenges. But to say that Nigeria is less safe than 2015 is not correct.
“And if you look at the number of lives that were lost before then and today, there is no doubt that yes we have challenges but we are much better than it was.”
On Boko Haram members massing up on Nasarawa-Benue borders, Mohammed said: “On the statement allegedly credited to the governor of Nasarawa State, I was also concerned and took on the governor, I asked him for further explanation.
“The governor said it was a case of being quoted out of context. That what he told the media was that he went to see Mr. President, first to wish him happy New Year, secondly to thank him for the forces he had sent to Nasarawa State to dislodge the bandits who were trying to behave like Boko Haram. That was how the issue of Boko Haram came about. That thirdly, he went to thank Mr. President for providing an alternative road between Nasarawa State and Abuja.
“So, it was a clear case of being quoted out of context.”
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