…says S’West security situation under control
Despite the current security challenges confronting Nigeria, the country is safer now than it was before 2015, the Federal Government has restated.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, stated this yesterday at a media briefing in Abuja. Mohammed acknowledged that whereas the challenges of Boko Haram, banditry and kidnapping were still present in Nigeria, the intensity of these violent crimes now cannot be compared with the situation six years ago.
He said that prior to the coming of the present administration, Boko Haram was terrorising many parts of the country, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), resulting in several suicide bombings in churches, media houses and other public facilities such as the Police Force Headquarters and the United Nations’ building.
The minister also said the number of lives lost to terrorism prior to 2015 were more when compared to the casualties recorded in the last six years.
He recalled that before 2015, many local government areas in the North-East were under the control of the terrorists, schools were closed down for fear of attacks and many communities were deserted as a result of insecurity. Mohammed said that all that have changed since President Muhammadu Buhari took over the reins of power.
According to him, the administration was fully aware of its duty to protect the lives and property of all Nigerians and would not relent in its constitutional.
He enjoined Nigerians to support and encourage the security agencies as they live up to their billing of dismantling the operations of both internal and external extremists and criminal groups waging war against the country.
Mohammed, who was accompanied to the briefing by the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, acknowledged that there were some security challenges in the South- West region, but assured that government had mobilised efforts to bring the situation under control. He disclosed that the armed forces, the police and other security and intelligence agencies have been ramping up their efforts to enhance security of lives and property across the country.
According to him, these security forces and intelligence agencies have, in recent weeks, recorded successes in the fight against terrorists, bandits and other criminals. “Since the security agencies take the bashing at the slightest occasional security reversals, they also deserve our commendation and support when they live up to their billing, as they are doing presently.
“Since the beginning of this year, which is barely three weeks old, the Armed Forces of Nigeria have neutralized 158 criminal elements across the country.
This is in addition to scores of other terrorists and bandits killed during air strikes. Some 52 criminal elements were arrested, with scores of arms, ammunition and equipment recovered. Troops have also rescued a total of 17 kidnapped victims across the country.
In addition, a total of 684,856 barrels of stolen crude oil, 1,724,000 litres of stolen automotive gas oil (AGO) and 500,000 litres of dual purpose kerosene (DPK) have been recovered. “Furthermore, a total of 1,184 of 25kg bags of Yaraliva Nitrabor Fertilizer were impounded by the troops of the Armed Forces of Nigeria.
Please note that in addition to the numbers of neutralized criminal elements quoted above, many others were incapacitated and their camps destroyed.
“The successes being recorded by the security and intelligence agencies in fighting insecurity did not come cheap. They have come as a result of the unrelenting efforts and sacrifices of the gallant officers and men of the military as well as other security and intelligence agencies that conduct operations across the country.
“Even though some of the troops paid the supreme price in the course of the operations, the security and intelligence forces have consistently exhibited gallantry and resilience in the various operations. We owe them a debt of gratitude,” he said.
Minister of Interior, Aregbesola, said all terrorists, bandits, kidnappers and other groups terrorising communities across the country were criminals and must be treated as such to safeguard the lives and livelihoods of law abiding Nigerians.
Aregbesola admitted that part of the challenge of insecurity was Nigeria’s porous and largely unmanned borders, but assured that efforts were on by the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) to establish Forward Operation Bases (FOBs) as well as the deployment of electronic border surveillance systems at strategic points to checkmate the influx of illegal aliens and criminals into the country.