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Designating Bandits As Terrorists Has Aided Fight Against Insecurity – FG

The Nigerian Federal Government on Monday said the designation of bandits as terrorist has aided the fight against insecurity in the country.

Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said when he visited the corporate head office of Media Trust Ltd (publishers of Daily Trust and other titles) that the designation had made possible, the use of excessive force, which hitherto was not an option.

“When I was drawn in this controversy, I said whether it is a terrorist or bandit, you do not spare any of them. But I think when you now term them terrorists, it gives the military and the security authorities more latitude on how to deal with them. It’s just like when students are protesting, you have to handle it with a kind of care and not use live ammunition and things like that.

“If they remain bandits, there’ll be a lot of restraint on the part of the police and the military, but when they become terrorists, then, there’ll be less restraint. I think that has helped a lot. Even some of the platforms the Air Force has acquired before cannot be used against ordinary bandits, but now that they’ve been declared terrorists, they can use it against them. That is why you can see improvements in the fight against bandits.”

The minister expressed concern about the wave of ritual killings in the country, saying the government was considering new measures to regulate social media as culprits had fingered the social platforms as a source for getting inspirations for their act.

He said the government would embark on public sensitization on the dangers of ritual killings, which is going to be led by the National Orientation Agency; while the National Film and Video Censors Board would vet movies that espouse the act.

He also explained that China stopped giving loans to Nigeria because of the reports that the country would go bankrupt soon.

Mohammed said: “When we started, we found the Chinese government more willing and their terms were much more acceptable and the speed with which the loans were completed and the speed with which we started working.

 “Unfortunately, along the line, I can remember the Minister of Transportation complaining that the entire world takes its cue from what Nigerians say about their government. The issue of reports that the government will soon go bankrupt, I think made them stop. Yes, we’re not getting the loans again as we would have wanted.”

He said President Muhammadu Buhari was studying the reworked electoral bill to make his final decision.

The minister assured that the 2023 general elections would take place as planned by the Independent National Electoral Commission. 

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