The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Tuesday, said there has been a drastic reduction in the spate of killings in the country, and challenged the media to ensure a proper reportage of this development.
According to a statement by the Ministry of Information and Culture in Abuja, Mohammed made the assertion in Gusau, Zamfara, at a Special Town Hall Meeting on Security.
He said, “Let me say straight away that the killings, resulting from farmers-herders clashes, cattle rustling, trans-border crimes and banditry, among others, have fallen drastically. Unfortunately, this has not received the kind of media coverage that was given to the killings. I appeal to the media to correct this.”
Alhaji Mohammed said the drastic fall in the killings resulted from concerted and committed actions by the Federal Government to curtail the farmers-herders clashes, cattle rustling and other acts of banditry.
He listed such actions as including the deployment of a Joint Military Intervention Force, JMIF, comprising Regular and Special Forces personnel from the Army, Air Force and Navy, and working in collaboration with the Nigeria Police Force, Department of State Security (DSS), and Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps, NSCDC.
The measures, he said, also include the establishment of the Army’s 2 Battalion Forward Operating Base (FOB) in Kanfanin Doka Village, Birnin-Gwari, Kaduna State; the establishment of a new Area Command and two additional Divisional Police Headquarters in the Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State; and the establishment by Nigerian Air Force of Quick Response Wings (QRW) in Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba
Others, according to him, are the deployment of Special Forces to these Quick Response Wings; the inauguration, by the Nigeria Police Force, of a new Mobile Squadron in Takum, Taraba State and Operation ‘Whirl Stroke’, operating in Benue, Nasarawa, Taraba and Zamfara states, to tackle the menace of armed herdsmen, cattle rustlers, communal militias, kidnappers and other bandits.
”I have no doubt that the good people of Zamfara can testify to the drastic reduction in the activities of cattle rustlers and other bandits in the state since the Federal Government deployed a 1000-strong military force, comprising the army, air force, police and the civil defence, to launch fierce attacks on the bandits terrorizing the villages and towns of Zamfara State,” the Minister said, assuring that the situation would continue to improve until the violence has stopped.
He said the killings had nothing to do with ethnicity or religion, adding that those who are bent on exploiting our national fault lines have distorted the narrative to give the killings ethnic and religious coloration, and this has aggravated the killings.
“We must repudiate them, even as the Federal Government continues to consolidate on the successful efforts to end the killings,” he noted