Minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammed has said that Nigeria cannot be called a failed state simply because it is battling insecurity “in one corner of the country”.
The Minister said this during an interview on ‘Focus on Africa’, a programme on BBC. Mohammed who maintained that the current administration has “pinned” Boko Haram to a “very small area”, added that Nigerians should appreciate their effort given that Taliban fighters took over power in Afghanistan in a few weeks.
“In the north-east, we are facing the challenge of the Boko Haram, which is purely an ideologically driven terrorist group. What is happening in Afghanistan presently is a good pointer. It shows that a movement driven by ideology is very difficult to overcome. The US, having spent 20 years, trillions of dollars, thousands of lives lost, it took the Taliban only a few weeks to come.
“This is what people should appreciate about fighting terrorism. The good news is that insurgents today are surrendering in droves and we are going after them. The truth of the matter is that the Nigerian government is winning the war against insurgents.”
When asked to back up the claim with facts, Mohammed said;
“The evidence of that is the number of insurgents that are now surrendering and they are surrendering not only their weapons, they are coming also with their relations and their families.”
On why kidnapped schoolgirls are yet to be kidnapped despite the success he is claiming, the Minister said;
“This thing takes time. Don’t forget that in 2015, Boko Haram controlled a swathe of land the size of Belgium. Don’t forget that in 2015, the entire north-east was a no-go area, where schools were closed, markets were closed, hospitals were closed but today we have pinned them to a very small area.”
Insisting that the Nigerian military is “winning this war” against terrorism, he added;
“A failed state is a state where you have general paralysis everywhere.
“I live in Nigeria, I work in Nigeria and I travel all around Nigeria and I can tell you Nigeria is not a failed state. I can tell you, yes we have challenges with banditry, we have challenges with separatist groups, it does not make this country, Nigeria, a failed state.
“If what is happening in the last few weeks is anything to go by, we are winning this war.”