From AIDOGHIE PAULINUS, Abuja
Minister of Information Labaran Maku has given reasons the Federal Government has not been able to stop Boko Haram, the Islamist sect. Speaking during a media chat yesterday in Abuja, Maku said that “the faceless nature of the group who easily mix up in the crowd of innocent Nigerians,” have been one of the greatest challenges in stopping the killings.
He said politicizing and condemnation of security forces in their duty of defending the unity of the nation, has increased the activities of the sect in the North. He emphasised that the Federal Government has remained focus in dealing with insecurity, even as he said that the security agencies must be commended for their roles and not condemned. According to Maku, “the enemies hide in front, in the midst and behind innocent Nigerians. They don’t wear uniforms and there is no name on their faces.
The Armed Forces are facing a very difficult enemy. What the Armed Forces have achieved is very significant. We must stop politicizing these security issues. If our security forces had not increased capacity, we would have recorded greater violence in the country.
They have nipped in the bud, several attacks by the enemies. Government has remained focused in dealing with insecurity in the country. “The Federal Government has stepped up the investment in security through the provision of logistics and training and deployment of security personnel to the affected states. We have also adopted a multi-faceted approach in tackling the security challenge, especially the involvement of stakeholders, religious and community leaders, as well as ordinary citizens in this campaign,” Maku said. The minister, on behalf of the government, commiserated with the bereaved families as a result of Boko Haram attacks. “I assure you that the government will remain focused in finding lasting solution to the security challenge in 2013.” On fuel scarcity and increase in pump price in some parts of the country, Maku blamed the marketers who want to make excess profit.
He said government cannot monitor all petrol stations, adding that “every litre of fuel sold above N97 is additional tax on Nigerians.” He said the misconduct of individuals is causing a lot of problem in the system, urging Nigerians to have mercy on fellow Nigerians, noting that profiteering should be done in a sincere manner. “Corruption is promoted by the collapse in the value system. So long as subsidy remains, there will always be temptation for marketers and other individuals to misbehave.”
Declaring that the Federal Government had been recovering so much money from fraudsters in the system, Maku said the administration couldn’t move against any indicted persons in the Nuhu Ribadu’s Report until there is a White Paper on it. On government’s achievements last year, the minister said due to the transformation in the agricultural sector and introduction of cassava bread, Nigeria has saved over N300 billion from the reduction in importation of wheat for bread. According to him, power generation has risen to 4,500 megawatts, pledging that before the end of the Jonathan administration, Nigeria will witness sustainable power supply. On the aviation sector, he said that local airports have been transformed and covered by radar control to make them more attractive for foreign investors.
He noted that the Federal Government has decided to provide through the private sector, capital base for airlines to help them overcome financial challenges. On rail transport, Maku said for the first time in nearly three decades, the trains are now moving from Lagos to Kano uninterrupted, noting that the train services which broke down through corruption and neglects, have been restored.
Maku said that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has been growing by 7.1 per cent on average in the last two years and largely driven by the non-oil sector of the economy. On electoral reform, he said the administration has significantly sanitised the processes and reinforced the confidence of Nigerians and the international community.