‘Nigeria is winning war on insurgency’

‘Nigeria is winning war on insurgency’

Information and Culture Minister Lai Mohammed said that Nigeria was winning the war against terrorism and banditry.

He dismissed fears in some quarters that the country might go the way of Afghanistan, saying Nigeria was not a war.

Mohammed ruled out the involvement of mercenaries in the battle against insurgents and bandits since the military was having an upper hand against them.

The minister spoke with the BBC Radio and Television, Bloomberg and Politico as part of his programmes in the U.S. where he is marketing President Muhammadu Buahri’s achievements.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) quoted Mohammed as saying after meeting with the three media outfits that  Nigeria cannot be called a failed state simply because insecurity is   prevalent “in one corner of the country.”

He added that the military under Buhari has “pinned” Boko Haram to a “very small area.”

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

His words: “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.

“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 approach.

“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.

“In the Northeast, 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.

“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 replied:  “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.”

He also said Nigeria’s health sector is not comatose simply because President Muhammadu Buhari went to Britain for medical attention.

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