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Lai: Battling insecurity in one corner of the country doesn’t make Nigeria failed state

Lai: Battling insecurity in one corner of the country doesn’t make Nigeria failed state
August 19
09:13 2021

Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, says Nigeria cannot be called a failed state and that insecurity is only prevalent “in one corner of the country”. 

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Speaking during ‘Focus on Africa’, a programme on BBC, the information minister said the present administration has “pinned” Boko Haram to a “very small area”.

Mohammed recalled how the Taliban fighters took over power in Afghanistan in a few weeks while stressing that Nigerians must appreciate the fight against terrorism.

“In the north-east, we are facing the challenge of the Boko Haram, which is purely an ideologically driven terrorist group. What is happening in Afghanistan presently is a good pointer. It shows that a movement driven by ideology is very difficult to overcome. The US, having spent 20 years, trillions of dollars, thousands of lives lost, it took the Taliban only a few weeks to come,” he said.

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“This is what people should appreciate about fighting terrorism. The good news is that insurgents today are surrendering in droves and we are going after them. The truth of the matter is that the Nigerian government is winning the war against insurgents.”

Asked to back the claim with facts, he said: “The evidence of that is the number of insurgents that are now surrendering and they are surrendering not only their weapons, they are coming also with their relations and their families.”

Asked why schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram have not been released despite the success he said the government has achieved, the minister said: “This thing takes time. Don’t forget that in 2015, Boko Haram controlled a swathe of land the size of Belgium. Don’t forget that in 2015, the entire north-east was a no-go area, where schools were closed, markets were closed, hospitals were closed but today we have pinned them to a very small area.”

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Reacting to concerns that insecurity in the country has gone beyond control, the minister said in spite of the challenges, the Nigerian military is “winning this war”.

“A failed state is a state where you have general paralysis everywhere,” he said.

“I live in Nigeria, I work in Nigeria and I travel all around Nigeria and I can tell you Nigeria is not a failed state. I can tell you, yes we have challenges with banditry, we have challenges with separatist groups, it does not make this country, Nigeria, a failed state.

“If what is happening in the last few weeks is anything to go by, we are winning this war.”

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