The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Friday began the process of launching a national security campaign to counter insurgency in the country, especially in the North East region.
Towards this end, the minister met with representatives of relevant agencies in Abuja in an effort to design a national communication strategy aimed at sensitizing Nigerians on their role in the fight against insurgency.
In his address, Mr. Mohammed said while the military had proved its mettle in the war, same could not be said of the civilian populace.
”The military may be doing its best, but it cannot win the war alone. No insurgency has ever been won only by military prowess.
”Apart from that, it is important to sensitize Nigerians on Improvised Explosive Devices, IEDs. How to recognize one and what to do if they find such”, he said.
The minister added that Nigerians must be made to realize that insurgents have resorted to targeting soft targets, such as motor parks, entertainment centres, and religious houses, among others.
“Having been routed from their strongholds in the North East, the terrorists have resorted to carrying out cowardly attacks.
“But these people operate among us. The challenge, therefore, is to fish them out before they strike us. How do we recognize them? How do we keep Nigerians safe at the motor parks, in schools, hospitals, hotels or even on the road?” he said.
He also said the campaign would not be limited to the North East alone but extended to any part of the country where there are agitations for one reason or another.
The minister said as many relevant bodies as possible must be involved in the security campaign, listing religious leaders, traditional rulers, market women, road transport workers, opinion leaders, among others.
Mr. Mohammed specifically charged religious leaders to water down the contents of their sermons in churches and mosques, in order not to fan the embers of hatred and violence in their preaching.
“In order to keep Nigerians fully informed and involved, it is important that we design a communication strategy that will be very effective in helping us to achieve that objective”, he said.
The meeting was attended by representatives of the National Security Adviser, the military, the State Security Service, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, the media, Customs Service, police, National Security and Civil Defence Corps, Immigration Service, National Emergency Management Agency, National Union of Road Transport Workers as well as National Union of Local Government Employees.