Nigeria’s information and culture minister Lai Mohammed has admitted that Nigeria has yet to defeat Boko Haram insurgents responsible for decade-long atrocities along the country’s northeastern flank.
Mr. Mohammed said the country cannot effectively prosecute the decade-long war on terror with inadequate military procurement, effectively undercutting the administration’s perennial denial that the counter-terrorism war had all but ended since December 2015.
Mr. Mohammed, who reacted to the gruesome killing of 110 farmers by Boko Haram terrorists in Borno over the weekend, said the federal government’s counter-terrorism efforts are being hamstrung by insufficient military hardware.
The minister lamented that Nigeria’s entreaties to its foreign partners for assistance to upgrade its weaponry has not yielded results, hence the country may remain at the mercy of the dreaded jihadist group, which according to him, gets global funding.
“We are dealing with terrorists who are financed globally and we also need more support from global partners,” Mr. Mohammed said in Benue on Monday, during a courtesy visit to the state government.
“Nigeria has made an attempt to acquire a better and more effective platform to deal with terrorists but for one reason or the other we have been denied this platform — these weapons,” the minister stated.
He added: “Without adequate weapons or platforms, we remain at the mercy of terrorists.” A former United States envoy to Nigeria James Entwistle, had earlier disclosed that the U.S refused to sell arms to the troubled West African nation due to human rights infractions perpetrated by Nigerian troops.
Mr. Mohammed has, however, described allegations against the Nigerian military as “unsubstantiated.”
Speaking early August in Abuja, at a forum organised by the News Agency of Nigeria, the information minister said: “When the international community is weighed by unsubstantiated arguments to deny the country of vital platforms and weapons to fight insecurity, you cannot turn round to accuse the country of not fighting terrorism.”
“For more than two to three years now, we have paid for certain vital weapons that they have not released to us and they even refused to give us spare parts,” Mr. Mohammed noted.
Thousands of Nigerians have been killed and millions displaced by Boko Haram violence since 2009.
Mr. Mohammed’s remark that Nigeria was at the mercy of Boko Haram contradicts the government’s repeated assurance that the war against insurgency had been won, and the Nigerian Army was merely initiating a mop up operation to terminate remnants of the terrorist sect.
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