9 September 2017
…released terror leaders continue threats to peace
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has stated that the Federal Government has no regret for swapping key Boko Haram commanders in its custody with the 82 Chibok Girls.
The Nigerian Government was reported in May as having released five key Boko Haram terrorists for the sect to free 82 of the schoolgirls abducted from Chibok Secondary School in April 2014.
It was said then that the released Boko Haram leaders would not pose any threat to national security considering the level of discussions among various stakeholders on not only securing the release of abducted persons, but finding lasting solution to the nearly eight-year insurgency.
But since the swap which led to the return of the girls to their parents, the terror sect that hitherto seemed to be losing steam regained vigour by unleashing more terror in the troubled North-East.
Barely a week after their release in May 2017, one of the commanders, Shaibu Moni, threatened to bomb Abuja in due course, stressing that the terror group had no plans to engage in dialogue with the Nigerian government.
Moni was seen in a video with two other freed commanders of the Islamist terrorist group, claiming that Boko Haram forced the Nigerian government to release more than five of its commanders in detention in exchange for the Chibok girls who were freed after more than three years in captivity.
But speaking when he received the Broadcast Media Editors on a courtesy visit in his office in Abuja on Friday, the minister said the Federal Government is not regretting the swap.
‘‘Though it was a tough choice, but we said it loud and clear that whatever we need to do to ensure that the innocent girls are rejoined with their families, government will do so. And not just about the Chibok girls but everybody that has been displaced or kidnapped by Boko Haram leadership,’’ he said.
Mohammed also spoke on the October 1 quit notice handed to Igbos in the North and counter ultimatum issuances to northerners and Yorubas in the Niger Delta. He reiterated President Muhammadu Buhari’s position that every Nigerian was free to live in any part of the country.
Dismissing such ultimatum as empty threats, he said, ‘‘Mr. President has assured Nigerians that everybody should feel free to live in any part of Nigeria and nobody is going to disturb you where you live or work.
‘‘As to issue of hate speech, I don’t think government is going to make fresh laws to check freedom of speech but will make use of existing laws to confront those bent on destabilising the nation. Terrorism Act is very clear and hate speech is a crime.
‘‘Those who are engaging in hate speech know what they are doing. It is a deliberate act to distract the government to monopolise the space and give the impression that the country is at war and look as if the government is not working.
‘‘As the spokesperson of government I know what to do to educate the people on what government is doing to alleviate their problems.’’