Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, says the killing of 45 farmers in Borno state does not reflect the progress made against Boko Haram insurgents by the military.
Addressing a press conference in Lagos on Tuesday, Mohammed said the killing is an act of cowardice and savagery “by a group of deranged terrorists”.
At the weekend, the insurgents killed farmers at Kwashabe village, about 20 kilometers north of Maiduguri, Borno’s capital.
The minister said going after “soft targets” is an act of desperation by the insurgents “who have suffered huge setbacks in the hands of the military in recent times”.
“On the killing of farmers in Borno, I want to say it is an act of cowardice and savagery by a group of deranged terrorists, and it does
not reflect the progress being made by the military against Boko Haram,” he said.
“The modus operandi of a losing terror group is to go after soft targets in order to stay relevant. It’s not only Boko Haram that does that. In 2019, Al-Shabab attacked DusitD2 Complex in Nairobi, Kenya, killing more than 20.
“Similarly, the Peshawar school massacre of 16 December 2014 in Pakistan, carried out by six gunmen affiliated with the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, left about 150 people dead, most of them students.
“The truth is that Boko Haram is badly degraded and can only carry out cowardly attacks like the one against defenceless farmers over the weekend.”
The minister also denied saying Nigeria is at the mercy of Boko Haram because it has been denied weapons to prosecute the war against insurgency.
“This is sheer fabrication and an abuse of a platform. While in Makurdi, Benue State, on an official visit, I was asked by journalists to comment on the killing of farmers in Borno State over the weekend,” he said.
“I said terrorism is a global problem that requires the collaborative efforts among nations to combat. I said Nigeria needs the support of global partners, especially in the area of acquisition of effective platforms to deal with the terrorists.
“I recalled that some of the platforms ordered and paid for by Nigeria have yet to be supplied till date, thus weakening the war on terror.
“How these statements translate to Nigeria being at the mercy of Boko Haram is baffling, and could only have come from warped minds who are more interested in attracting traffic to their websites than upholding the truth. Is anyone still in doubt that something urgent needs to be done to rein in the abuse of social media?”