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Why we are cautious in crushing bandits, kidnappers – FG

By Idowu Abdullahi

The Federal Government has advanced reasons why President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration’s anti-terrorism and tactical strategies against bandits, kidnappers, and other terrorists appeared slow, saying the government was putting civilian population into consideration in its onslaught against enemies of the state.

It explained that despite the seeming tactical cautiousness, the government was committed in its resolve to fight terrorism to standstill and restore normalcy across the country as part of measures to douse the rising dissatisfaction across the country.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said that though the nation’s military has superior firepower and manpower to rout out terrorists from all corners of Nigeria, it was important the soldiers and other security agents exercise caution so as to prevent civilian casualties.

Addressing a press conference on national security in Lagos State on Tuesday, the minister said it was surprising that some commentators have posited that the apex government was overwhelmed and doesn’t have a clue as to how to tackle the security challenges.

He noted that contrary to the claims, the Buhari-led government was not overwhelmed and that it has the wherewithal, adding that in the days ahead, the military and other security agencies would confront the challenges headlong and restore law and order across the nation.

According to him, it is therefore baffling that some commentators give the impression that the administration is not engaging with the various stakeholders to find a lasting solution to the challenges facing the nation.

“Well, I am here today to assure all Nigerians that while 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.

“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.

“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. The government realizes that the security challenges we face today are systemic, hence has – in addition to kinetic efforts – also embarked on various non-kinetic measures to most effectively tackle the challenges.

“While the government continues with these efforts to restore peace and security continues, I want to appeal to all of us to play our part in lowering the palpable tension in the polity as a result of the security challenges. The first step is to tone down the rhetoric.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the government retains total confidence in the ability of our security forces to tackle the security challenges we are facing now, whether it is terrorism, banditry, kidnapping or even the farmer-herder conflict. We, therefore, appeal to all Nigerians to continue to support our security agencies, who today face the added task of having to watch their backs while working to protect us. The least we can do is to give them our unalloyed support,” he said.

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