By Beifoh Osewele
The Federal Government has accused some human rights organisations and the International Criminal Court (ICC) of aggravating security challenges facing the country.
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who made the claim in Lagos, yesterday, said while the nation’s security agencies continued to battle bandits and terrorists, the ICC, Amnesty International and others have constituted themselves to another “fighting force” against Nigeria.
He accused them of constantly harassing security forces and threatening them with investigation and possible prosecution over alleged crimes against humanity and war crimes. He also claimed that a section of the local media were parroting these organisations without weighing the impact of their constant threats on the security of the nation.
“The Federal Government frowns at this unbridled attempt to demoralise our security men and women as they confront the onslaught from bandits and terrorists. Nigeria did not join the ICC so it can become a pawn on the court’s chessboard. It beggars belief to see that a nation that is fighting an existential war against bandits and terrorists is constantly being held down by an international body which it willingly joined.
“Nigeria is a sovereign state and will not surrender its sovereignty to any organisation. ICC, Amnesty International and their cohorts should desist from threatening our troops and putting the security of our country in jeopardy. Enough is enough. It is sad that these organisations mostly rely on fake news and disinformation to reach their conclusions, as witnessed during the EndSARS protest when CNN – an otherwise respected global news network – went to town with fake news of a massacre.
“As it turned out, it was a massacre without bodies. As you are aware, we called CNN out and also petitioned the network. Though they acknowledged receipt of our petition, we have yet to hear from them on what actions they intend to take to prevent a recurrence of the fake news they peddled about Nigeria.”
He also lampooned those he described as “jaundiced analysts and their lapdogs” who he said were seeking to portray the country as a failing state due to its security challenges.
In December, the Financial Times of London did an an editorial warning that Nigeria was on the brink of becoming a failed state.
The minister, who stressed that the gloomy prediction would not come to pass, added that the country would rise to become a more respected member of the comity of nations.
“You would remember that for the past two decades or so, some pseudo-analysts have been predicting the country’s implosion.
“That has not happened, hence they have found a new watchword – failing or failed state. It’s all a ruse aimed at depicting Nigeria as being in a constant state of anarchy so they can achieve their nefarious objectives for the country,’’ he said.
Mohammed said notwithstanding the antics of analysts who he said had constituted themselves into another ‘fighting force,’ the country had made tremendous progress in tackling bandits and Boko Haram terrorists.
“If Nigeria was not a ‘failing’ state when a large slice of its territory equivalent to the size of Belgium was under the occupation of Boko Haram, which collected taxes, installed and deposed emirs, is it now that no territory is under the terrorists that Nigeria will be a failing state?
“If Nigeria was not a failed state when bombs were raining on towns and cities in Kano, Kaduna, Plateau, Borno, Yobe, FCT and other states, is it now that such bombings have stopped that Nigeria will be described as a ‘failing’ state?
“If Nigeria was not a ‘failing’ state in those years that Christian and Muslim worshippers needed to be screened to even enter their places of worship, is it now that the siege on places of worship has ceased that Nigeria will be described as a ‘failing’ state?’’
Mohammed said it was sad that many people had forgotten where the country was in terms of the state of insecurity just a few years back.
The minister, however, thanked the security agencies for ensuring that Nigerians celebrated another Christmas and the new year without bombings.
In spite of the antics of those he claimed have constituted themselves to another ‘fighting force’ against the country, he said Nigeria has made tremendous progress in tackling bandits and the terrorists of Boko Haram and gave an assurance that the country would witness improved security this year.
He disclosed that a number of the platforms the country had been expecting to pep up the battle against terrorists and bandits would arrive in the new year.
He said President Muhammadu Buhari had continued to provide the armed forces and other security agencies with whatever was required to function better in terms of platforms, logistics and capacity development.
“As the president said in his new year broadcast, the security apparatus and personnel of the armed forces and the police are to be re-energised and re-organised.
“This is with a view to enhancing their capacity to engage, push back and dismantle the operations of both internal and external extremist and criminal groups waging war against our communities in some parts of the country,’’ he said,
He paid tributes to all security personnel for their sacrifice, dedication to duty and patriotism, noting that the nation remained in their debt for their service.