The Minister of Information and Culture has given facts and figures to support his position that security situation in Nigeria improved and was better than 2015 when President Muhammadu Buhari took over.
Ahlaji Lai Mohammed at a media briefing recently in Abuja, said that while there were challenges, the country had recorded progress and the security situation “is by far better than what we met in 2015’’.
Some groups including the Afenifere and opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had faulted the minister’s position contending that the security situation now was worse than it used to be.
The minister, however told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday that until Buhari took over in 2015, the country did not witness peaceful Easter, Christmas and New Year celebrations.
“From 2010 to 2014, we did not have peaceful Christmas and New Year, It is only since we came that we have been celebrating these peacefully.
“Prior to 2015, worshippers were screened before attending Jumat and Church services. But this is not happening now,” he said.
Reeling out figures to back his position, the minister said on Dec. 25, 2010, no fewer than 80 people were killed on Christmas eve by bomb attacks on Churches around Jos in Plateau.
“Dec. 25, 2011, bomb attacks were reported across the country especially the one at Catholic Church in Madalla near Abuja that killed about 37 people and injured 57.
“On Christmas day 2012, Church of Christ in Nation’s was attacked and burnt down in Yobe by Boko Haram, killing at least six people.
“On Easter Sunday April 8, 2012, there was bomb explosion in a Church in Kaduna killing at least 36 people, injuring 13 persons.
“In Kano in 2012 about 162 people were killed during the crisis on fuel price increase.
“Also in Kano on April 29, 2013, a total of 13 people were killed when gunmen opened fire in a lecture theatre in the University in Kano,” he said.
Mohammed said that gone were those days when motor parks and markets were not safe, bombs were exploding like fire crackers while young boys and girls were blowing themselves off.
“Prior 2015, Jos, Kano, Kaduna, Damaturu, and Maiduguri were all regular victims of Boko Haram invasions.
“About 80 villages in Borno alone were affected by Boko Haram in those days while many local government areas were under effective occupation by insurgents.
“Barracks, and police stations were under attacks, including Giwa barracks in Maiduguri and Abacha barracks in Abuja.
“Schools and business premises were permanently closed down in the North-East while sporting activities could not hold.
“In the FCT, Nyanya motor park was bombed twice with several casualties, the Police headquarters, This Day Headquarters and UN building were all bombed,” he said..
Mohammed said he did not say that Nigeria had overcome every security challenge but the situation had improved and better than what they met in 2015.
What I said and I am going to repeat today was that we are by far better today than we were in 2015.
“It is irrelevant about who is happy about it or not.
“I speak to facts and figures and those who want to contradict my position should come out with their own facts and figures,” he said.
The minister appealed to citizens to stop demoralising and humiliating the military who were trying daily for Nigerians to live in peace. (NAN)