The Minister of Information, Mr Labaran Maku, has stated that the Federal Government knows what to do to bring back the 276 female students abducted by Boko Haram insurgents from a secondary school in Chibok, Borno State last month.
The minister said the search and rescue process would remain classified until the operation is concluded.
He also said the government did not immediately wade into the situation at the onset because it did not want to confuse the people.
Maku said the fight against terrorism seemed to be taking longer than necessary because of the nature of the combat, which he described as “urban and guerrilla warfare”.
He added that this particular nature of the war made it difficult for the Nigerian Army to put an immediate end to the insurgency as it had never engaged in such warfare before now.
He said the government decided not to join issues with anybody on the rescue of the abducted schoolgirls but use the rescue efforts to reunite the nation and avoid further endangering the people’s lives.
The minister made this known on Tuesday in Abuja at the inaugural lecture of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR).
He said: “We are looking at the perceptions about what Nigerians think, but the position of the government is to unite everybody. This government knows what it wants to do and what it will do to face the challenges of Chibok. But I am not here to tell you what it will do”.
On the abduction saga and why it took the government time to responde to the situation, Maku said: “By the time we could define our story, it took time. We have tried to take that off and, up till this moment as we talk to you, there are still aspects of this story that are very confusing. But we say stop the confusion, the blame game, and leave everything first. There is fire on the roof. Let us put out the fire, after which we will analyse every other thing.
“So, that is the approach of the government. If we don’t do that, we will be delaying the search and endangering the lives of these young children. Our approach is to unite the nation in the search for these girls and get them out. That is what we are doing at the moment. No matter or and what they are, whether they disagree or agree, our target is finding our girls”.
On the impact of terrorism on Nigeria, the minister said: “Terrorism is very complex, and because it is our society and because it is new to us, we feel it will end tomorrow. We ask: what is the government and the Armed Forces doing?
“This war is a mixture of politics and other things. Politicians react quickly on the matter as if we have a disagreement. We must all agree that terrorism is bad and must be scrapped from Nigeria. To defeat terrorism, we need everybody.
“This war is a symmetrical warfare and it is an urban and rural guerrilla warfare whose enemy is not defined. The enemy has no territory; the enemy lives among the people. It is not a war that the military can carry tanks and planes to go and bomb a particular area. This war is not so…”