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Lai Mohammed claims Nigeria is winning terrorism war, but exaggerates success

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The Nigerian Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed says Nigeria is winning the war against terrorism in northern parts of the country, but he overstates the performance of the military.

Mohammed had during his engagements in Washington DC with international media organisations, including the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Radio and Television, Bloomberg and Politico, denounced insinuations that the security situation in Nigeria could degenerate to that of Afghanistan where the Taliban terror group had just seized power from a democratically elected government.


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He emphasized that Nigeria was winning the war against terror and was not a failed state as claimed.

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He noted that with the recent development of many Boko Haram coming out voluntarily to surrender their arms, the country is winning the war against insurgency.

“Nigeria is not and will not be a failed state. Yes, we have challenges in some corners of the country, but that has not made Nigeria a failed state.

“A failed state is one where basic facilities are not available, and everything has broken down but, Nigeria is not in that stage,’’ he said.

The minister said that fake news and disinformation was being used to portray the country in a precarious situation.

He noted that the development in Afghanistan had proven right the position of President Buhari that when fighting an unconventional war, the country had to be resourceful.

“If what happened in Afghanistan is something to go by, then the federal government should be given kudos for the way it has handled insurgency in the last couple of years.

“The lessons from Afghanistan today is that for over 20 years of American intervention and over a trillion-dollar spent and thousands of American lives lost, it took the Taliban just a few weeks to recapture Afghanistan.

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“This should be a lesson for everybody that when you are fighting an insurgency or movement driven by ideology, it is always difficult to overcome, and you must be resourceful, deploying both kinetic and non-kinetic approaches.

“When people were saying we should invite mercenaries, the president was focused and maintained that our military has what it takes.

“The President should be given kudos for believing in our military and deploying both kinetic and non-kinetic approaches,’’ he said.

Speaking on banditry, the minister said bandits were now suffering more casualties than ever before.

He assured that the delivery of the Super Tucano military platforms by the US to the military would be a game-changer in the fight against banditry.

The facts

The Global Terrorism Database (GTD), in its 2018 and 2019 global terrorism report, ranked Nigeria as the third most terrorised country in the world.

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The Global Terrorism Index (GTI) is a ranking report published annually by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP). It was developed by IT entrepreneur and IEP’s founder, Steve Killelea. The index is often used to systematically rank the nations of the world according to terrorist activities.  It has been in existence since the year 2000.

Terrorism, according to the United States Department of Defense, refers to “the calculated use of unlawful violence or threat of unlawful violence to inculcate fear; intended to
coerce or to intimidate governments or societies in the pursuit of goals that are generally
political, religious, or ideological.

The Boko-Haram and its splinter group, the Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP), are the most dreaded terror groups Nigeria has been battling to curtail for over a decade. The group are solely responsible for coordinated attacks on places of worship and social places in the North-East with the sole intent to declare Nigeria an Islamic country. Boko-Haram and ISWAP are responsible for the death of more than 53000 people and has displaced nearly 2.4 million people in the Lake Chad Basin.

Although the groups have reduced the bombings of public places, they are still carrying out deadly attacks on villages in the region, most especially in Borno State, where their activities have created a serious humanitarian crisis. The groups have in recent times launched attacks on military barracks and obliterated military formations.

In 2020, Boko-Haram claimed responsibility for the brutal murder of more than seventy farmers in Zamarri village, Borno State. The convoy of Borno State Governor Babagana Zulum has also repeatedly become a target by the insurgents in recent times. The governor narrowly escaped death in one of the attacks launched against him by the terrorist.

Apart from Boko-Haram, banditry has developed into terrorism in the North-West. School children and villages have become a target of kidnapped for ransom.

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