The Federal Government has pledged to tackle people who launch deadly attacks on the nation’s security personnel with overwhelming force.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said this on Tuesday in Lagos at a meeting with Online Publishers.
“Soldiers in addition to police, customs and other security agents are killed and maimed in certain parts of the nation in this developing trend of targeting security forces.
“I want to state unequivocally, that any attack on our security guys and women is an attack on the state and a declaration of war against the nation.
“It follows, therefore, that this will be countered with overwhelming force,” he explained.
“When those whose obligation is to protect us ‘ are themselves being subjected to mindless attacks, it may only be for one reason only: To instil fear and evoke a sense of pervasive insecurity among the people.
“Whether known or unknown gunmen, those engaging in this dastardly action will pay dearly for their activities.”
Mohammed said the security challenges confronting the nation were systemic.
He said in addition to kinetic efforts, the government was embarking on different non-kinetic steps to most effectively handle the challenges.
He recalled his ministry on April 8, also held a Town Hall Meeting on national security in Kaduna that came out with an implementable 10-point agenda.
Mohammed said the recommendations from the meeting included, political restructuring rather than separation, qualitative and compulsory main education for all children of school age.
He said the meeting also solved on state authorities, growth, retraining of army, security and police agencies in addition to supplying them with modern gear.
The meeting also resolved on Local Authorities freedom as well as the inherent job of maintaining peace and safety for traditional rulers in their domain.
He said it was also recommended the ranches, grazing reservations must be established with contemporary conveniences to inspect the trans-humans of their herders and farmers-herdsmen clashes.
The ministry said resolutions from the town hall meeting was taken to the National Economic Council for considerations.
The Minister also used the event to explain his statement on the problem of insecurity as it relates to the plan of Gen. Murtala Mohammed, according to him, media report he blamed the regime of Gen. Murtala Mohammed for the spate of insecurity in Nigeria continues to be”fake news and disinformation”.
Mohammed, who voiced dismay over the accounts clarified on which he said when he featured Channels Television’s News programme.
“It is amazing sometimes how individuals interpret ones’ opinions and perspectives in a very negative feeling.
“What happened was that the lead speaker at a Town Hall Meeting we held at Kaduna lately, made reference to the retreat by the former military Head of State Gen. Yakubu Gowon, following the civil war.”
“He said that at the end of the escape, there was consensus that all children born after the civil war must be given free and compulsory primary education.
“I just elaborated on this information and stated that if subsequent authorities after Gen. Gowon had perfected this pledge, the bandits and kidnappers now will have no market to recruit their followers.
“I said we have roughly 13 million from school children and when the successive government had decided in the Gowon’s escape seriously, we will not be where we are now.
“There was blamed Gen. Murtala Mohammed, but we are in the age of disinformation and bogus news,” he said.
The minister said that he was likewise misunderstood on his stance that kidnapping and banditry were not offences that could be prosecuted by the Federal Government.
He said while his stance was correct, it was not intended to absorb the federal government from the responsibility of fighting offences as it had been misinterpreted by some people.
“I was responding to the opposition PDP which stated that the Federal Government hasn’t prosecuted any bandits or kidnappers.
“I stated it isn’t the obligation of the national authorities to prosecute bandits or even kidnappers.
“The obligation of the federal government would be to down them, arrest them and hand them over to the state’s judiciary to prosecute.
“Incidentally, this morning, it was noted that 48 kidnappers were neutralised by the military in Zamfara State.
“Those who have been arrested will be passed over to the Zamfara state authorities for prosecution,” he explained.
The minister revealed that there were some laws that were in the exclusive implementation by the national and state level respectively.
“As of now and until we amend the legislation, the national government cannot prosecute suspected kidnappers and bandits.
“That was why the notorious kidnap kingpin, Chikwudubem Onwuamadike, also referred to as Evans has been prosecuted in the Lagos state court rather than in Abuja,” he explained.
The minister stated Nigerians must be worried about the spate and effects of bogus information and disinformation.