The Supervising Minister of Defence, Mr Labaran Maku, said the ongoing armed confrontation between security forces and Boko Haram insurgents was not a civil war.
Maku, the Minister of Information, said this in Abuja on Tuesday while fielding questions from journalists at a news conference to herald the Armed Forces Remembrance Day, 2014.
The minister was reacting to the opinion of the International Criminal Court (ICC) that the ongoing armed confrontation between Nigeria and the Boko Haram was a civil war.
“Nigeria is fighting a terror group”, Maku stressed.
It will be recalled that the ICC at The Hague, Netherlands, on Sunday said the conflict between the Boko Haram insurgents and Nigerian security forces was no less than a declaration of civil war.
In its latest report released at the weekend on the conflict in Nigeria, ICC said after a careful review of the situation, the violence in Nigeria qualified as an armed conflict of non- international character.
“It is amazing that a terror attack on a nation is defined as a civil war. If it is a civil war, which part of the country is fighting which part?’’
He explained that when the country experienced civil war between 1967 and 1970, there was a region that wanted to be independent of it.
“But in this, it is a war of terrorists against all Nigerians, particularly against those that live in their theatres of operation.
“These terrorists have attacked Muslims, Christians and foreigners who pass through Nigeria; it is not a civil war in my opinion.
“What we are facing is a network of terrorists who have chosen to attack a part of our country and the whole nation is behind the armed forces to deal with these insurgents”.
On the recent attack in Maiduguri, Maku said: “I can say with pride that the incident was not only repelled but those who participated in the operation faced the fire of our armed forces.
“I must say confidently that our armed forces are doing everything possible not only to ensure that we deal decisively with this incidence but to secure the north-east of Nigeria”.
He said the fight was also to secure Nigeria’s boundaries, adding that occasionally, “things like this will happen, as the country was dealing with an enemy that does not wear uniform.
“I can tell you that as we continue in this operation and state of emergency, we are succeeding and for a very long time the army struck at the bases of these elements and chased them completely from Maiduguri.
“And they are trying to strike back and I can tell you that most of those who came for that operation did not go back. This is a plus to the gallant soldiers”, Maku emphasised. (NAN)