The Federal Government says it is not overwhelmed by security challenges facing the country and has the wherewithal to confront them headlong and restore law and order.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed stated this on Tuesday in Lagos at a meeting with the Online Publishers.
Mohammed who was briefing the publishers on national security said the federal government was conscious of the development and working to restore peace, law and order,
The minister berated those advocating for the truncation of democracy over the security challenges.
“I have read comments saying the Federal Government is overwhelmed and does not have a clue as to how to tackle the challenges.
“Some have even gone as far as suggesting a truncation of the democratic order, a clearly treasonable stance.
“Well, I am here today to assure all Nigerians that the government acknowledges the security challenges we face at this time, from terrorism to kidnaping, banditry and farmer-herder conflict.
“It is definitely not overwhelmed and indeed it has the wherewithal, as you will see in the days ahead, to confront the challenges headlong and restore law and order, peace and security,’’ he said.
The minister frowned at the negative narrative that the terrorists and bandits had superior firepower over the nation’s military.
He said the military were constraint by the possibility of recording collateral damage.
“One of the most difficult things to do, for a democratically-elected government, is to use the instruments of coercion against its own people.
“For example, while the nation’s military has superior firepower over the ragtag band of Boko Haram and ISWA, the terrorists most often than not operate among the populace, either in our villages or towns.
“Hence the military, in tackling them, is usually careful to avoid collateral damage,’’ he said.
Mohammed added: “The same applies to the kidnappers who abduct our school children.
“Usually, the location of the kidnappers is not unknown to the security forces, but they still have to exercise caution in order not to hurt the same children they are trying to rescue.
“Despite these inhibitions, the security forces have the wherewithal to decisively tackle the challenges’’.
Mohammed said the recent announcement by the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, on the readiness of the government to prosecute 400 suspects arrested for allegedly funding terrorism was a testament to the government’s determination to decisively tackle terrorism and other violent crimes.
He appealed to Nigerians and particularly the media to play their part in lowering the palpable tension in the polity.
“The first step is to tone down the rhetoric.
“While the media must continue to carry out its primary responsibility to inform, criticize and stimulate debate, it must also realise that it can only carry out this responsibility in an atmosphere of peace and security.
“I am therefore appealing to the media to play its part in dousing the pervasive tension.
“Lending your platforms to uncompromising separatists and die-hard pessimists about the survival of our nation can only overheat the polity and aggravate the security challenges.
“This is not a call for censorship. It is a call for responsibility, in the national interest,’’ he said.
The minister also appealed to all Nigerians to continue to support security agencies who are working daily to protect them.