*Says move will cut funding for violent groups
The federal government yesterday said that it was
continuing to put pressure on its western allies to
“proscribe” bandits, Boko Haram and the Indigenous
People of Biafra (IPOB) as terrorists.
The government said that doing so would severely
reduce the funding for the groups, noting that it was
doing all within its powers to ensure that a stop is put to
the killings throughout the country.
Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu
Buhari on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, made
the assertion yesterday in reaction to an editorial by Daily
Trust newspaper titled: “Life Has Lost Its Value Under
While the federal government had earlier designated both
Boko Haram and IPOB as terrorist organisations, last
month, it finally got a Federal High Court in Abuja
presided over by Justice Taiwo Taiwo to add bandits to
The presidential spokesman stated that aside proscribing
the three groups, its friends in the West should partner
Nigeria in areas of trade and investment to deplete the
reservoir of unemployed Nigerians where the various
violent groups recruit their members from.
According to the presidency, the economic instability
that the Covid-19 pandemic has wreaked has further
proven an effective recruitment tool for bandits and
terrorists across the nation in particular and the African
continent as a whole.
“Even as the West continues to extricate itself from
Africa militarily, we are lobbying our Western allies
aggressively for partnership, investment and support in
other areas, such as proscribing Boko Haram, bandits
and IPOB as terrorist groups.This would severely dent
“(We are asking) them for investment in trade and
infrastructure, to help lessen economic instability; and to
help with technical assistance, advanced weaponry,
intelligence and ordinance,” the presidency stressed.
Shehu explained that although this will likely be small
comfort to the families and loved ones of those already
lost, ridding the country of avoidable deaths is a battle
the federal government is fighting without let up.
Stating that the growing instability and violence in the
north of Nigeria and elsewhere were unacceptable, the
federal government pointed out that no one, not least the
presidency underestimates the seriousness of the
“Every day, the president holds the victims and their
families in his thoughts and prayers. Above all, he wishes
to reassure them – and all Nigerians – that tackling the
scourge of banditry and terrorism remains this
government’s first priority,” the government added.
However, Shehu argued that in respect of violence and
terrorism, Nigeria is not unique, arguing that violence and
terror have risen steadily across the entire African
continent over the last decade.
He maintained that the “Economist magazine” in a recent
publication wrote about “The Next Afghanistan,” warning
the global community of the horrifying security in its
neighbourhood, citing specifically the states of Mali,
Burkina Faso and Niger.
Noting that the presidency understood the frustrations of
the newspaper and Nigeria’s northern communities about
the ongoing challenges of security, Shehu noted that the
Buhari administration is no less worried by the situation.
The Buhari government argued that it is only fair to say
that Nigeria’s persistent and continued efforts to
suppress the instability have seen results, with terror
group Boko Haram, among others “reduced to a shell of
its former self”
“Yet now we Nigerians face a new threat: the worst
global health crisis in living memory. Even Nigeria that
proudly holds the mantle of Africa’s largest economy is
not immune from the debilitating economic impact of
“ The economic instability that the pandemic has
wreaked has proven an effective recruitment tool for
bandits and terrorists across the continent.
“Indeed, the Daily Trust has correctly identified the
source of the violence as ‘an amalgam of many complex
issues’ such as poverty and unemployment. It is equally
right to note that, in tackling the violence, ‘force alone
will not be enough.
“It is quite wrong, however, to suggest the problem of
insecurity is intractable, and more wrong still to claim
apathy on the part of the government,” the presidency
Continuing on what the federal government was doing to
ameliorate the situation, Shehu stated that the Nigerian
military efforts have not let up, but admitted that it is
true that in the face of today’s growing number of threats
from Boko Haram, bandits, kidnappers and IPOB to run of
the mill bandits, the forces were stretched increasingly
“Second, alongside military force, this government is
seeking to address the violence at its economic source.
Massive infrastructure projects like the coastal rail and
new train from the southern coast through the north-east
to our neighbour Niger aim to expand employment and
opportunity across the country, bringing hope to our
more remote and poorer regions where bandits and
terrorists thrive,” he said.
The spokesman maintained that the Daily Trust’s
suggestion that the president exchanges violence for the
support he got electorally was “beneath a publication
that claims any kind of political neutrality or integrity.”
According to the presidency, the focus as Nigerians must
be on coming together and ending the violence pervading
“As President Buhari wrote recently of the terrorists in UK
paper ‘The Financial Times’: “We will defeat them, one
highway, one rail link – and one job – at a time,” the