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Information Minister Urges Nigerians To Support FG In Resettlement, Rehabilitation In N/E

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, yesterday appealed to all Nigerians to support the Federal Government in the task of resettlement, rehabilitation and reconstruction in areas affected by insurgency.
The minister told newsmen in Lagos that such support was necessary as the military entered the mop-up-stage of the war against terror.
“ As the military enters the mop-up phase of this war, what is left now is the onerous task of resettlement, rehabilitation and reconstruction, especially in the North-East, which is worst-hit by the war.
“We appeal for support from all Nigerians in this regard, because the government alone cannot handle this task.
“The over two million people who are displaced must be rehabilitated and resettled, and their homes and businesses must be rebuilt,’’ he said.
Mohammed reiterated that the military had largely met the December deadline to defeat Boko Haram, saying the assertion was backed by facts.
He challenged critics of his assertion to visit the affected areas and see things for themselves.
“The armchair critics who dispute these facts, from the comfort of their living rooms, are free to take a trip to the theatre of war to see things for themselves,’’ Mohammed said.
He said that the military had massively degraded the capacity of the terrorists to carry out the kind of spectacular attacks they used to execute in the past, like the attack on the police headquarters or against the UN Complex.
“ Also, in just six month of this administration, the Boko Haram that was in control of a territory larger than an entire geo-political zone in Nigeria has been reduced to a fleeing, bomb throwing, cowardly and disorganized army.
“And finally, all Boko Haram can do now is to attack soft targets: Markets, Motor Parks, Mosques and Entertainment centres, killing innocent men, women and children.
“Among the areas where Boko Haram has been kicked out is Bama, which was the self-declared headquarters of their Caliphate. From there, they collected taxes, dispensed jungle justice, deposed and installed Emirs and hoisted their own flag.
“Today, the town is firmly in the hands of our troops. How then can anyone say Boko Haram has not been defeated!’’ he said.
The minister said the fact that Boko Haram had continued to carry out attacks on soft targets was not an indication that they still had capacity.
“As I have said many times, the attacks will not end with the expiration of the deadline, since insurgencies are not conventional warfares in which the guns could be silenced with an armistice.
“But I also said that the attacks will taper off with time, with better awareness among the citizenry and better intelligence gathering by the security agencies,’’ he said.
Mohammed said that the attacks carried out by “dying and desperate insurgents’’ on soft targets in the North-East during the festive season were “cowardly, dastardly and condemnable’’.
“We commiserate with the state governments and the families of those who died or were injured in the attacks which, as I said earlier, are like the death pangs of a dying horse,’’ he said.
According to him, the attacks do not shake the government’s resolve a bit, in its determined quest to rid the nation of terrorists and ensure the security of citizens.
The minister restated his appeal to the media to stop glamourising Boko Haram.
On fuel, Mohammed said that the Federal Government would put in place measures that would ensure availability of fuel and seamless distribution of the product to prevent scarcity in future.
He also reassured Nigerians that the Buhari-led administration was very conscious of paucity of funds and would not be involved in extravagance. (NAN)

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