Lai Mohammed, information and culture minister, says terrorists are on the run and incapable of carrying out a major attack within Nigeria’s capital city, Abuja.
The United States government had issued a security alert of a likely terror attack on malls, religious centres, and other public places by suspected Boko Haram terrorists.
Addressing a press conference on Tuesday, the minister said Nigeria is currently safer than it was when President Muhammadu Buhari came to office.
“Terrorists have been hard hit and put on the run. Bandits have been decimated and scattered. Our country is safer today than at any time in recent times, thanks to the sacrifice of our men and women in uniform,” the minister said.
“We do not discountenance the fact that terrorists, bandits and their kind would always want to do whatever it takes to disrupt our nation’s peace, security and stability. But our security forces have been proactive. Nigerians too should continue to be alert but must not panic. Like I said in a recent statement, as far as insecurity is concerned, the worst is over for Nigeria,” he added.
The minister accused some media platforms of spreading unverified information about the security alert “just for clickbait”.
According to Lai, the information was designed for US citizens and not Nigerians.
“Talking of clickbait, this may be what informed the spread of the supposed security alert issued recently by some foreign embassies in Nigeria. One would imagine that if indeed this kind of security alert was issued, it was for the attention of citizens of the issuing countries in Nigeria,” Lai said.
“Suddenly, this alert found its way into the media, both new and traditional, thus creating panic in the polity. Schools were shut; businesses were closed; travel plans were altered; lives were disrupted. No one cared to find out about the authenticity of these alerts.”