The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, says there is no resurgence of Boko Haram contrary to insinuation in some circles.
He also called on the media to deny the insurgents publicity, which he described as “the oxygen with which they desperately crave to survive.”
Mohammed spoke to the media during the Eid-el-Kabir celebrations in his country home, Oro, near Ilorin.
He said that some recent tragic events, including suicide bombings and the abduction of some staff of the University of Maiduguri, were antics by the insurgents.
“The truth is that there is no resurgence of Boko Haram. Cowardly bombings and kidnappings are some of the hallmarks of an asymmetric warfare that insurgencies are.
“And like I say all the time, such wars do not end by the signing of any truce. They taper off with time, as this one surely will,” he said.
The minister said that to ensure that the insurgency tapered off quickly, the Nigerian troops were daily living up to their constitutional responsibility of maintaining the nation’s territorial integrity and securing its borders.
“They are ensuring that never again will Boko Haram take control of our territories, attack our major cities, including Abuja, at will and fly their flag anywhere in the country.
“Therefore, as we celebrate this Festival of Sacrifice, we owe the marked improvement in the security situation in our country in general and the North-East in particular to the men and women in uniform.
“They have sacrificed so much to make our country safer than at any other time since the Boko Haram insurgency started in 2009.
“Yes, we are not totally out of the woods yet, but we are much better today than we were in 2015, when this administration assumed office,” he said.
While commending the entire military for the feat of “largely defeating Boko Haram”, he identified certain roles played by the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) in the successes recorded.
He said that with the support and the enabling environment provided by President Muhammadu Buhari, young and well-trained pilots were those flying the aircraft in the inventory of the NAF.
Mohammed said unlike what was obtainable in the past, officers below 30 years of age, were Flight Lieutenants flying the planes, including the C-130s and serving as Instructor Pilots.
He said after over 32 years, the NAF recently graduated 16 instructors from its primary flying school in Kaduna.
“This is possible because the NAF has moved from just two trainer aircraft when this administration came into office to 14 trainer aircraft presently.
“The number continues to grow, in addition to other logistical issues like availability of spare parts and aviation fuel being squarely addressed.
“This has also ensured that pilots can conclude their initial flying training within four months.
“I can tell you that from December last year to June/July this year, the Air force has ‘winged’ 32 pilots, who are now fully qualified to fly the air force’s aircraft,” he said.