‘You’re asking for war,’ Nigerian govt speaks on lawlessness in the country

The Federal Government yesterday declared that the killing of security operatives amounted to a declaration of war on the country.

The government warned that “overwhelming force’ would be used against the perpetrators of such heinous crime.

Nigerian Police

It reassured Nigerians that it was not “overwhelmed” by the worsening insecurity and called on the media to douse the “pervasive tension” caused by insecurity.

Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed who stated this at a news conference in Lagos, said  the  government  was set to prosecute 400 suspects arrested for allegedly terrorism funding.

Mohammed said it was regrettable that   security personnel were been subjected to “mindless” attacks by gunmen in order to instill fear in people and create a sense of insecurity.

He appealed to Nigerians to support security agents, who face the added task of having to watch their backs while protecting others.

The minister said: “Now, there is a growing dangerous trend which I will like to comment on. It is the practice of launching deadly attacks against the nation’s security personnel. Soldiers, policemen, Customs officials  and other security agents have been killed and maimed in some parts of the country in this growing trend of targeting security forces.

“I want to say, unequivocally, that any attack on our security men and women is an attack on the state and a declaration of war on the nation. It follows, therefore, that this will be countered with overwhelming force.

“Whether known or unknown gunmen, those engaged in this dastardly act will pay dearly for their actions.

“When those whose responsibility it is to protect us are themselves being subjected to mindless attacks, it can only be for one reason only; To instill fear and evoke a sense of pervasive insecurity among the people.”

Mohammed appealed to the media “to play your part in dousing the pervasive tension while government continues with efforts to restore peace and security.”

“While the media must continue to carry out its primary responsibility to inform, criticise and stimulate debate, it must also realise that it can only carry out this responsibility in an atmosphere of peace and security.”

Reiterating the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to tackling insurgency, banditry, and other security threats, the minister described the planned prosecution of the 400 terror suspects as “unprecedented.”

He said: “The   Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice (Abubakar Malami)  has announced that the Federal Government is set to prosecute 400 suspects arrested for allegedly funding terrorism.

“This is unprecedented and it is a testament to the government’s determination to decisively tackle terrorism and other violent crimes.”

The minister said the government was working on a 10-point agenda to tackle the country’s security challenges.

He listed some of the measures as political restructuring and decentralisation of the judiciary.

He said: “There is an urgent need for political restructuring and not separation; the judiciary has to be decentralised and reformed through constitutional amendment to remove the unitary control of the superior courts.

“Governments at all levels should ensure free, qualitative and compulsory primary education for all children of school age.”