Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, says that the Federal Government is “by no means overwhelmed but rising to the security challenges” facing the country.
“Our military are doing their best and the government is by no means overwhelmed,” the minister said during a TVC current affairs programme, This Morning — State of the Nation, on Monday in Lagos.
Mr Mohammed said that the nation must not give in to terrorism and banditry, adding that “terrorists are enemies of Nigeria.”
According to him, terrorism is not a conventional war and what terrorists want to achieve is to return to the front pages as a result of the damages they are causing.
Condoling with the families of those who lost their lives in the Kaduna train attack, Mohammed said the federal government had put in motion the machinery to ensure that such was not witnessed again.
According to him, one of the things President Muhammadu Buhari has decided to do is to fast-track the installation of an integrated surveillance and monitoring system.
‘’Not just on the Abuja-Kaduna rail, but also install a similar thing on the Lagos-Abuja, and Warri-Itakpe/ Ajaokuta rails.
‘’This is to ensure that at any given time, 24 hours, seven days a week, we will be able to monitor from our control room, those who will sabotage our tracks and terrorists that want to attack trains.
“The military has been able to curtail them for some time, but like all terrorists, they seek for one dramatic attack that would seem to wipe out the successes the military has achieved over the years.
“We must not forget that despite this sad incident, the military has been working very hard and recording successes in their fight against terrorism,” he said.
Mr Mohammed said that terrorists always tried to seek for “a soft underbelly” and inflict a spectacular attack that will make the government look incompetent.
The minister added that recently, thousands of terrorists and their families had surrendered not only because of the effectiveness of security forces but also because the government had not folded its arms but supplied them with the platforms they needed.
Distinguishing between conventional war and terrorism, Mr Mohammed said Nigeria’s military must at all times adhere to rules of engagement while terrorists on the other hand do not.
“Terrorists and bandits live among us, they are not just Nigerians and it is unfair to make innocent people collateral damages in this war,” the minister said.
According to him, every citizen has a role to play in the fight against terrorism and banditry.
“Every citizen has a duty; we need timely information and intelligence to be able to help in confronting terrorism. It is easier for a government to provide infrastructure than to fight terrorism,‘’ he said.
On job creation, the minister said that the Buhari administration had succeeded in providing jobs for the citizenry.
He said: ‘’We introduced the N-Power’; N-power today has employed about one million people; we started the National Social Investment Programme and it is the biggest intervention programme in the whole of Sub-Sahara Africa.
‘’Under it, we have the government enterprises and empowerment programme which has benefitted four million Nigerians to date.
‘’We have the homegrown feeding programme that feeds 10 million pupils one decent meal a day’ in the process it has also employed over 100,000 people – cooks, and the likes and also benefitted at least 100,000 farmers. ‘’