The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has said military and political leaders are addressing security challenges in the South-West.
He pleaded with Nigerians and different ethnic groups to “lower the temperature.”
He said since the beginning of the year, Armed Forces have neutralised 158 criminal elements across the country.
He also said troops have arrested 52 criminal elements with scores of arms, ammunition and equipment recovered.
He however insisted the security situation in the county now is better than what President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration inherited in 2015.
Mohammed, who gave the Federal Government’s position at a briefing in Abuja, said efforts are being made to contain security issues in the South-West.
The Minister said: “Yes, we have challenges in the South-West but I can assure you it is being taken very good care of.
” Both military and political leaders are on top of the matter.”
Pressed further on the situation in the South-West Mohamned said:” I think my response to it is that we should please lower the temperature. And we should stop politicizing security matters. We should stop reading ethnicity or religion to purely security isdues.
” And like I told you, as I speak now, efforts are being made to contain these issues and other issues.”
Mohammed, however, insisted that the nation’s security situation was better than before President Muhammadu Buhari was elected in 2015.
“I have no hesitation in saying yes that the security situation in the country is better than we met it in 2015.
” Nigeria today is facing security challenges but it is by far better than what we met. What do I mean? Prior to 2015, bombings, suicide bombings, by Boko Haram were taking place in at least 12 states of the Federation. They were Plateau, Kano, Kaduna, Bauchi, Yobe. Not even Abuja was spared.
“And if you look at the number of lives that were lost before then and today, there is no doubt that yes we have challenges but we are much better than it was.”
The Minister highlighted how Armed Forces, the police and other agencies had risen to security challenges in the country.
He said: “Gentlemen, I can tell you today that the armed forces, the police and other security and intelligence agencies are ramping up their efforts to enhance security of lives and property across the country, and the results are beginning to show.
” Therefore, we will be highlighting, at this press conference, the recent successes recorded by the Armed forces and other security and intelligence agencies in the fight against terrorists, bandits and other criminals.”
“Since the security agencies take the bashing at the slightest occasional security reversals, they also deserve our commendation and support when they live up to their billing, as they are doing presently.
” Since the beginning of this year, which is barely three weeks old, the Armed Forces of Nigeria have neutralized 158 criminal elements across the country.
” This is in addition to scores of other terrorists and armed bandits killed during air strikes. Some 52 criminal elements were arrested, with scores of arms, ammunition and equipment recovered.
” Troops have also rescued a total of 17 kidnapped victims across the country. In addition, a total of 684,856 barrels of stolen crude oil, 1,724,000 litres of stolen Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) and 500,000 litres of Dual Purpose Kerosene (DPK) have been recovered.
Furthermore, a total of 1,184 of 25kg bags of Yaraliva Nitrabor Fertilizer were impounded by the troops of the Armed Forces of Nigeria. Please note that in addition to the numbers of neutralized criminal elements quoted above, many others were incapacitated and their camps destroyed.”