The Federal Government says there is no preferential treatment between groups advocating separation from the country and bandits, especially in the North-west Zone.
This clarification was made by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
The minister described as misleading and erroneous the notion that members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) were getting harder clampdown from security forces.
He maintained that the federal government would continue to apply all necessary measures, including use of the military, to prevent criminal groups from undermining the territorial integrity and peace of the country.
“We noticed that of recent, there is this misinformation as regards the way the Federal Government, especially the military, is handling the issue of banditry and terrorism.
“There is this misconception that the Federal Government is softer on the terrorists in the North-east and the bandits from the North-west and the way they handle separatists and other criminals from the South-east and South-west.
“I want to say without any hesitation that this is a fallacy. It is a misrepresentation, misinformation and fake news all rolled into one.
“The truth of the matter is that the Federal Government does not make a distinction between terrorists and bandits.
” As far as the Federal Government is concerned they are all criminals and they are treated the same way.
“It is very important to set the record straight. Why do I say this? Because, it is a continuation of the destructive rhetoric of some commentators,’’ he said.
The minister further said that the issue of security of the country should not be politicised because of its sensitive nature.
He said: “The issue of security must not be politicised. Security is security. Bandits kill soldiers; they kill policemen and innocent people.
“So, why will the military be softer on one set of criminals than the other?
The minister reiterated the position of the Federal Government to build more on the ongoing peace process across the country as well as tackle bandits, kidnappers and other criminal groups.
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