* Defends proposal to buy BMW cars with N3.6bn
* Why we’ve not brought back Chibok girls

By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor

LAGOS— The Federal Government will not shield any high profile member of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, involved in the alleged misuse of security funds, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said yesterday.

Lai Mohammed

Mohammed, at a session with media men in Lagos, yesterday, also cited the administration’s unwillingness to risk the lives of the kidnapped Chibok girls for the restraint in taking the final salvo to the Boko Haram insurgents in Sambisa forest.

While calling on the media not to glamourise the insurgents in their activities, Mohammed defended the administration’s proposals to expend N3.6 billion on the purchase of BMW cars in fiscal 2016.

Daring the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to move beyond speculations to name any APC member involved in the alleged misuse of security funds, the minister said calls by the PDP to constitute a truth commission to probe the utilisation of security funds were unnecessary given that all the confessions made by those involved in the alleged deal were undisputed.

“We do not see the nexus between the revelation coming out now and a truth commission,” Mohammed said, adding that the call by the PDP on the president to reveal the source of his campaign fund was wrongly directed.

He said: “What the PDP is looking for is just distractions. If there is any allegation against any member of the APC, make the allegation open. All we are hearing are whispers. If there is evidence provide them in the open.”

On purchase of BMW cars
Mohammed also restated the determination of the Buhari administration to maintain the path of frugality as he dismissed insinuations that the proposal to purchase N3.6 billion worth of cars was misdirected. He said the proposal could have been meant for the Conference Visitors Unit, which is responsible for shepherding visiting foreign leaders.

“It is quite possible that some of the BMW cars being referred to are for the use of the VIPs. What I can assure you is that this government is very prudent in its spending. I can tell you that no minister bought a new car, all of us inherited the cars used by our predecessors. This is the last government that you can accuse of extravagance,” the minister said.

Why we’ve not brought back Chibok girls

Mohammed also reaffirmed that the military has realised its objective of suppressing the insurgency, saying that most of the area occupied by the insurgents have been liberated.

He said that the remaining two local government areas under the control of the insurgents were in the thick of the Sambisa Forest as he disclosed that the military was being cautious because of the kidnapped girls from Chibok and other victims of the insurgents that may suffer collateral damage.

Noting that the insurgents were now contained to attack soft targets such as markets, motor parks, mosques, churches and entertainment centres, killing innocent men, women and children, he said:

“Not unexpectedly, the dying and desperate insurgents have carried out some attacks on soft targets in the North-East during this festive season.

“This is cowardly, dastardly and condemnable. We commiserate with the state governments and the families of those who died or were injured in the attacks which, as I said earlier, are like the death pangs of a dying horse.

“These attacks are part of the propaganda that has been launched by Boko Haram and their fellow terrorists, ISIS, to seek to remain relevant in the face of massive routing by our gallant troops, and to also discredit our committed and patriotic troops. But the attacks do not shake our resolve a bit, in our determined quest to rid our nation of terrorists and ensure the security of our citizens

“The fact that Boko Haram has continued to carry out attacks on soft targets is not an indication that they still have capacity. As I have said many times, the attacks will not end with the expiration of the deadline, since insurgencies are not conventional warfares in which the guns could be silenced with an armistice. But I also said that the attacks will taper off with time, with better awareness among the citizenry and enhanced intelligence gathering by the security agencies.”

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