As the violent activities of terror group, Boko Haram, persist, the federal government yesterday said if the war against terror must be won, there must be unity of purpose among Nigerians.
It equally noted that the war against terror was a Nigerian war, adding that cooperation among Nigerians would defeat the menace.
Briefing jorunalists after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, the Minster of Information, Labaran Maku, said: “It is our understanding that would isolate the evil. It is the unity of purpose in the country that would lead to victory over terrorism.
“We need greater unity to be able to break into what is going on and defeat it, and that is why the grandstanding and politicking that is associated with the fight against terror is increasing the tempo of the activities of terrorists.
“The variety of opinion among the political class feeds into the confidence of terror groups because their objective is to divide public opinion and continuously penetrate the Nigerian society and destroy it.
“And so we continue to plead that all of us in the politics of this country need to think again to understand that the challenge we face is not to the advantage of anybody, we need to understand that politics aside, we need to save our country first.”
He called on every preacher as well as religious leaders to speak to their followers to sensitise the people to give support to war against terror.
The minister also charged every state in the North on the need to go back to the basis.
“Which means that today to deal with terror every of the 19 Northern states must re-organise their people from the smallest unit of the smallest village to hamlet, to wards, to towns, to districts, there must be a proper organisation of communities for proper information about movement of people and activities that could lead to destruction of lives and property.”
While describing federal government as a fire fighter, Maku also said it does not own any constituency in the 19 northern states, but only sent soldiers and policemen when there is fire on the roof to put out that fire.
He further stressed that “the real ground where terrorist is operating is at the local level, at the unit level, at the state level, and until we have every state government determined, not rhetorically but practically, to sit back and organise their people and to take proactive measures in terms of information gathering, in terms of preparing people to be able to confront, to be able to report, to organise themselves, we will not be able to defeat terror just because the federal government has sent soldiers to a particular place. So we need a lot of the cooperation.”
The minister added that to defeat terror, every community in northern Nigeria must be prepared by the state government to attune their minds with their neighbours, communities, schools, town unions, tribal unions, religious organisations.
“We need to be able to reorganise ourselves to prepare for the new challenges we face. We have not seen this preparation going on and we need it.
“And that is why it is so sad that in spite of terror operating for this period of time there are still lapses like we saw in Chibok. It should never have occurred at all, there was no reason for it to occur, but we are now confronted with the ugly situation that has developed.
“At the moment the greatest challenge is for every state governor to go and focus on the reorganisation and that was why when the president declared state of emergency, he did not remove the governors.
“The president decided that we needed the machinery of the state government to be able to organise the people and work in sync with the federal government and I think that is the real work that has to be done now.
“Instead of all the grandstanding, media bliss and altercations, it is expected that every state must know that the war of terror it his own territory is a war not only soldiers and policemen that are sent there, it is even moreso a real political war of community organisation, of community cooperation, of sensitisation, of getting the communities to link up to be able to link terror.
“If this happens I can tell you that even for terrorists to keep girls for two weeks it will not take place, because they will be travelling across villages and communities and places.
“If we are really doing the work we need to do at the state and local level, and organising our people and making them sensitive to what is going on, I believe the job will be easier for the security forces,” Maku concluded.