Information Minister Lai Mohammed says the hideouts of kidnappers are known to security forces contrary to speculations that the criminals’ whereabouts are unknown.
In Northern Nigeria, bandits attacking and killing the civilian populace have not resorting the kidnapping, requesting for ransom to free their captives. They recently stepped up their nefarious activities by abducting school children in exchange for ransom which they use in procuring more dangerous arms and ammunition.
Rather than use force to quell the situation once and for all, some state governments opted for dialogue with the criminal elements, an action that has emboldened them to continue.
One of the state governors who paid and rewarded bandits publicly lamented the criminals’ insincerity, saying his administration will withdraw from dialoguing with them.
In a meeting with online publishers in Lagos on Tuesday, the government propagandist said security agencies were just being careful not to harm the kidnapped victims they are attempting to rescue, hence their decision not to unleash their military might on the criminals.
“It is no longer news that our dear nation is facing security challenges. However, I have read comments saying the Federal Government is overwhelmed and doesn’t have a clue as to how to tackle the challenges,” Mr Mohammed said. “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 while the government acknowledges the security challenges we face at this time, from terrorism to kidnapping, 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 have superior firepower over the rag tag 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 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,” he added.