According to the Federal Government, there is no differential treatment between groups seeking for independence from the country and bandits, particularly in the North-western Zone.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, made this clarification in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
The minister dismissed as false and misleading the notion that members of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) were facing increased repression from security forces.
He reaffirmed that the federal government would continue to take all necessary measures, including military action, to prevent criminal organizations from compromising the country’s territorial integrity and peace.
“We have seen that there has been recent misinformation about how the Federal Government, particularly the military, handles the issue of banditry and terrorism.
“There is a widespread misperception that the Federal Government is easier on terrorists in the north and bandits in the north-west, based on their treatment of separatists and other criminals in the south and south-west.
“I want to state unequivocally that this is a fallacy. It is a combination of misrepresentation, misinformation, and fake news.
“The reality is that the Federal Government does not differentiate between terrorists and robbers.
“In the eyes of the Federal Government, they are all criminals and are handled equally.
“It is critical to correct the record. Why am I stating this? Because it is a continuation of some commentators’ toxic rhetoric,” he explained.
Additionally, the minister stated that the country’s security should not be politicized due to its sensitivity.
“The question of security must not be politicized,” he stated. Security is synonymous with security. Bandits assassinate troops; they assassinate police officers and innocent civilians.
“However, why will the military be more lenient with one group of offenders than with another?
The minister reaffirmed the Federal Government’s commitment to advancing the ongoing peace process across the country and combating bandits, kidnappers, and other criminal groups.