Lai Mohammed denies comparing ‘Area Boys’ to terrorists

Lai Mohammed denies comparing ‘Area Boys’ to terrorists

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed on Saturday, October 30, debunked a report that attributed to him that terrorists were collecting taxes in the northern parts of the country just as “Area Boys’’ extorted commuters in the southern parts.

Lai Mohammed said in a statement issued in Abuja by Mr Joe Mutah, his Chief Press Secretary, that the report was “a figment of the warped imagination of the author.’’

The statement said the report, attributed to Lai Mohammed; after he addressed a news briefing on the distorted report of the Economist Magazine on Nigeria; was twisted by the author who was not even at the event.

“It’s inconceivable how a reporter, who was not even at the event; extrapolated the comments of the minister to manufacture his or her conclusion on the minister’s remarks.

“For clarity, the minister never mentioned what was dishonestly attributed to him,’’ the statement said.

It said the reporter twisted the response of the minister to a question on a news report that some bandits imposed taxes on some communities in Sokoto State.

“The minister remarked that assuming without conceding that the report is true; the claim that some bandits imposed taxes on some communities was not an indication that the communities were effectively under the control of the bandits.

“He only provided some examples; which the reporter twisted to fabricate a misleading caption for the story.

“I will refer you to the original recording of the minister at the event; in order to put the report in the correct perspective,’’ Mutah added.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Defence, Maj. Gen. Bashir Magashi (Rtd), has said that the need to follow due process was responsible for the delay in declaring bandits as terrorists.

Magashi, who stated this on Friday, October 30, in Maiduguri, while fielding questions from newsmen; also added that there was a procedure that needed to be observed before such a declaration.

“We are not declaring them terrorists because there is a procedure for doing that.

“When the procedure is followed, they will be classified as terrorists. We are waiting for the procedure to be completed,” Magashi said.

Also Read: CAN cautions parties against all-Christian, all-Muslim presidential tickets

1st News also reports that the minister, who was in Maiduguri with the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor; as well as Service Chiefs on an assessment visit of the fight against insurgency in the Northeast; expressed satisfaction with the successes so far recorded.



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