Information Minister Lai Mohammed says the gruesome massacre of rice farmers in Borno State at the weekend indicates that Boko Haram terrorists have been badly degraded.

Mr Mohammed who stated this today at a meeting with the Newspaper Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria, Thursday, in Lagos, added that the terror group resolved to go after defenseless citizens after suffering defeat in the hands of the government’s security forces

Over 40 farm workers were tied up and slaughtered at the weekend in Borno State. The Abubakar Shekau faction of Boko Haram has claim responsibility for the attack saying they killed over 70 farmers.

“The truth, which will rankle some people, is that Boko Haram is today badly degraded and can only carry out cowardly attacks like the one against defenceless farmers over the weekend,” the minister said.

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“No nation, no matter how powerful, is immune to attacks on soft targets. 9-11 happened despite the prowess of the most powerful army in the world. Boko Haram’s only oxygen today is publicity. That’s why they have rushed to release a video claiming responsibility for the killing of the farmers.

“Please note that that video was shared to instil fear in the civil populace and maintain relevance in the eyes of their sponsors. There is no truth to the reason for their action.

“We, therefore, appeal to the general public to provide information about the insurgents to security forces to assist them in ending the war on terror.

“Unfortunate and saddening as it is, the killing is not a true reflection of the progress being made by the military against Boko Haram. That Boko Haram is going after soft targets is a sign of weakness and desperation on their part, especially after they have suffered huge setbacks in the hands of the military in recent times.

“The modus operandi of a losing terror group is to go after soft targets in order to stay relevant,” Mohammed added.

‘Asking Buhari to resign is cheap politicking’

The minister also slammed those demanding the resignation of the president over rising insecurity nationwide, adding that they were playing dirty politics.

The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) made the latest call, saying under Buhari life has lost its value.

“Mr President was elected in 2015 for a four-year term and re-elected in 2019 for another four-year term. No amount of hysterical calls for resignation will prevent him from serving out his term,” he said.

“Now, let’s put things in context. Before Mr President assumed office, Boko Haram could stroll into any city, especially in the north, to carry out deadly attacks. Abuja, the nation’s capital, Kano, Maiduguri, Jos, Damaturu, etc were regularly targeted. Motor parks, churches, mosques, shopping complexes were not spared.

“Today, that is a thing of the past. Suicide bombers used to have a field day detonating their bombs and killing innocent people. Today, that is no longer the case. Detonating Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) used to be a deadly tactic of Boko Haram. Today, that has changed. Boko Haram used to occupy territory, deposing and installing Emirs and collecting taxes. That’s no longer the case.

“These changes are not mere happenstance. They are part of the successes recorded by the military, under this President. Therefore, calling on the President to resign every time there is a setback in the war on terror is a needless distraction and cheap politicking,” the minister added.

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