The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Friday kick-started the process of launching a national security campaign to counter insurgency across the nation, especially in the North-east.
The Minister met with representatives of relevant agencies in Abuja in an effort to design a national communication strategy for the campaign, which aims to sensitize Nigerians on their role in the fight against insurgency, with a view to ensuring that they support and also own the war.
Addressing the meeting, Alhaji Mohammed said while the military has availed itself creditably in the war, which it is now winning, the civilian component is missing which, he said, is critical for the war to be won.
”The military may be doing its best, but it cannot win the war alone. No insurgency has ever been won only by military prowess.
”Apart from that, it is important to sensitize Nigerians on IEDs – Improvised Explosive Devices, how to recognize one and what to do if they find such. Nigerians must also be made aware of the new tactics of the insurgents, which is to focus on soft targets, like motor parks, entertainment centres, religious houses, etc.
”Having been routed from their strongholds in the North-east, the terrorists have resorted to carrying out cowardly attacks. But these people operate among us. The challenge, therefore, is to fish them out before they strike us. How do we recognize them? How do we keep Nigerians safe, whether at the motor park, in schools, hospitals, hotels or even on the road?” the Minister queried.
He said the campaign would not be limited to the North-east alone but will extend to any part of the country where there are agitations for one reason or another.
The Minister said as many stakeholders as possible must be involved in the security campaign, listing religious leaders, traditional rulers, market women, road transport workers, and opinion leaders among them.
Alhaji Mohammed specifically charged religious leaders to tone down their rhetoric in churches and mosques in order not to fan the embers of hatred and violence in their preaching.
”In order to keep Nigerians fully informed and involved, it is important that we design a communication strategy that will be very effective in helping us to achieve that objective,” he said.
The meeting was attended by representatives of the National Security Adviser, the military, the State Security Service, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, the media, the Customs Service, Police, National Security and Civil Defence Corps, Immigration Service, National Emergency Management Agency, National Union of Road Transport Workers as well as National Union of Local Government Employees.