Information and Culture Minister Alhaji Lai Mohammed Monday raised the alarm that some foreign bodies were frustrating the anti-terror battle in the country.
He alleged that some human rights groups, including Amnesty International, and the International Criminal Court (ICC) were demoralising the Armed Forces and other security agencies by constituting themselves into another ‘fighting force.’
Mohammed warned these foreign organisations to desist from threatening Nigerian troops and putting national security in jeopardy.
The minister, who spoke with reporters in Lagos on the state of the nation, highlighted government’s efforts on security, anti-COVID battle, the economy, agriculture, the oil sector, infrastructure and power, and border drill.
Mohammed said Nigeria is fending off attacks on many fronts, not just from terrorists and bandits, but also from the International organisations.
He chided the Criminal Court (ICC), which it accused of colluding to exacerbate the security challenges.
The minister alleged that while security agencies continued to battle these bandits and terrorists, the ICC and Amnesty International have constituted themselves to another ‘fighting force’ against Nigeria, constantly harassing security forces and threatening them with investigation and possible prosecution over alleged war crimes. Mohammed lamented that a section of the local media has been parroting these organizations without weighing the impact of their constant threats on the national security.
He said: “The Federal Government frowns at this unbridled attempt to demoralize our security men and women as they confront the onslaught from bandits and terrorists. Nigeria did not join the ICC so it can become a pawn on the court’s chessboard. It beggars belief to see that a nation that is fighting an existential war against bandits and terrorists is constantly being held down by an international body, which it willingly joined.”
Noting that Nigeria is a sovereign state, Mohammed said the country will not surrender its sovereignty to any organization.
He warned the ICC, Amnesty International and their cohorts to desist from threatening Nigerian troops and putting the national security in jeopardy.
Mohammed stressed: “Enough is enough. It is sad that these organizations mostly rely on fake news and disinformation to reach their conclusions, as witnessed during the #Endsars protest when CNN – an otherwise respected global news network – went to town with fake news of a massacre.
“As it turned out, it was a massacre without bodies. As you are aware, we called CNN out and also petitioned the network. Though they acknowledged receipt of our petition, we have yet to hear from them on what actions they intend to take to prevent a recurrence of the fake news they peddled about Nigeria. I can assure you, gentlemen that the matter is far from over.”
Mohammed said despite the antics of another ‘fighting force’ against Nigeria, the country had made tremendous progress in tackling banditry and Boko Haram insurgency.
He lamented that ‘some jaundiced analysts and their lapdogs” had sought to portray Nigeria as a failing state, based on the security challenges.
The minister said: “Nigeria is not and cannot be a failing or failed state. Of course, you would remember that for the past two decades or so, some pseudo-analysts have been predicting the country’s implosion.
“That has not happened, hence, they have found a new tag line: failing or failed state. It’s all a ruse aimed at depicting Nigeria as being in a constant state of anarchy, just so they can achieve their nefarious objectives for the country.”
Mohammed added: “If Nigeria was not a ‘failing’ state when a large slice of its territory equivalent to the size of Belgium was under the occupation
of Boko Haram, which collected taxes, installed and deposed emirs, is it now that no territory is under the terrorists that Nigeria will be a failing state?
“If Nigeria was not a failed state when bombs were raining on towns and cities in Kano, Kaduna, Plateau, Borno, Yobe, FCT and other states, is it now that such bombings have stopped that Nigeria will be described as a ‘failing’ state?
“If Nigeria was not a ‘failing’ state in those years that Christian and Muslim worshippers had to be screened to even enter their places of worship, is it now that the siege on places of worship has ceased that Nigeria will be described as a ‘failing’ state?”
The minister lauded the Armed Forces and other security agencies for their patriotism and commitment to the anti-terror war.
Highlighting the feats recorded by the troops, he said: “Thanks to our security agencies, we have just celebrated another Christmas and New Year without a rain of bombs. Few would remember that in 2010, 2011 and 2012, Christmas eve or Christmas Day attacks left hundreds dead or injured.
“What about the attack on the UN Complex in Abuja in August 2011; the bombing of media houses in Abuja and Kaduna in April 2012 and the killing of about 40 students in Mubi, Adamawa State, in October 2012?
Have we forgotten that over 80 towns and villages were attacked and razed, with casualties, by Boko Haram in Borno State alone? Have we forgotten the constant attacks on military and security formations?”
He added: “The Federal Government has sustained the fight against terrorists, bandits, kidnappers and other criminal elements across the country, especially in the North East and the North West. The President has continued to provide all the necessary platforms on land, air and sea to support the fight against criminals and terrorists in the country.”
Firing salvos at the main opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party, (PDP), for what it described as its lack of imagination and depth, the minister said its role as an opposition is restricted to “bad mouthing.”
Mohammed said:” Let me also take this opportunity to condemn the constant infantile press releases by the unserious, unimaginative and drab opposition, which misconstrues opposition as constantly shooting down anything the government of the day does or bad mouthing whatever Mr. President does or says.
“There is more to opposition than predictable and bring-it-down-at-all-cost media interventions. They messed up in government, and they are messing up even more in opposition. No lessons learnt either way.”