By Olalekan Adetayo, John Alechenu, Friday Olokor and Adelani Adepegba
THE Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has said despite the security challenges being witnessed in parts of the country, security situation under the current regime is better than the situation in 2015 when the regime came on board.
Mohammed made the claim at a press conference in Abuja.
This is as the Peoples Democratic Party, Youruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, the Middle Belt Forum and security experts dismissed the minister’s claim, saying the country has never experienced the level of insecurity across the country.
Speaking further, the minister said, “I have no hesitation in saying yes; that the security situation in the country is better than we met it in 2015. 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.
“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.”
Earlier, while reading from a prepared text titled, ‘FG makes progress in war against terror, banditry’, the minister claimed that the nation’s security agencies were winning the war against insecurity.
He said, “Since the beginning of this year, which is barely three weeks old, the Armed Forces of Nigeria have neutralised 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.”
Mohammed added that 684,856 barrels of stolen crude oil, 1,724,000 litres of stolen Automotive Gas Oil and 500,000 litres of Dual-Purpose Kerosene have been recovered this year.
While saying the successes recorded by security agencies did not come cheap, Mohammed regretted that some of the troops paid the supreme price in the course of the operations.
He said 118 bandits were killed in the North-West with 11 kidnap victims rescued and 11 arrests made; and 30 suspected terrorists killed in the North-East with arms and ammunition recovered.
Nigerians no longer buying Buhari’s propaganda, says PDP
Reacting, the Peoples Democratic Party on Monday said Nigerians were no longer subscribing to the propaganda being dished out daily by the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).
National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, said, “With due respect to the minister, Nigerians are no longer buying the tissues of lies laced with propaganda being dished out by this Buhari regime on a daily basis.
“We had a successful election in Borno State the epicentre of the Boko Haram insurgency in 2015, results were collated and announced, and not a single local government was in the hands of the terrorists.
“Yet, this regime which was a beneficiary of that election is today telling Nigerians that Boko Haram was in control of territory. Nigerians are counting months to the next election to vote out the APC and all its represents.”
Security experts disagree
Also, a security expert, Ben Okezie, disagreed with the minister, saying the security situation in the country had deteriorated.
He stated, “Everybody knows that people are living in fear; so, it is not true that the security situation is better. The insurgents are daily attacking and abducting people.
“Consider what is happening in Oyo State where herdsmen are killing and abducting the residents. And to worsen the situation, the IG deployed a female commissioner of police without much experience to handle the crisis.”
A security consultant, Kabir Adamu, says if the minister used conventional metrics, he cannot say security was better.
He added, “If he (Mohammed) is being fed with information by the military, they will tell you security has improved. The police will tell you the same thing and that is what they are telling the President and by extension, the minister of information.”
Afenifere, Middle Belt Forum too
Speaking, the National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin, said, “These people now believe their own low quality lies and it is unfortunate for the country. We know that things are far worse today than when the President came in, but apostles of falsehood will make just any claim to justify their pay.”
Similarly, the National Publicity Secretary, Middle Belt Forum, Dr Isuwa Dogo, described the assertion that the nation’s security situation had improved compared to the pre-2015 period as an incontestable lie too glaring for anyone to debate.
“Just last year in 2020, the death toll from the killing spree unleashed by these bloodthirsty herdsmen hit over 1,400 in Kaduna State alone, especially in the southern part.
“The Federal Government should stop this self-deceit that the nation’s security situation is better compared to the pre-President Muhammad Buhari’s administration,” Dogo said.