Chris Steven, Abuja
The Federal Government has described as a hoax the figures being bandied by ISIS concerning the number of attacks carried out by Boko Haram and the number of people killed by the terrorists in Nigeria in the last two months.
In a statement issued in Abuja on Monday, Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the imaginary figures were part of the ISIS’ strategy to shore up the morale of its dispersed and defeated fellow-terrorists in Nigeria.
”Apart from these fake figures, we are aware of the planned release of old videos of Boko Haram attacks in Nigeria through the terrorists’ preferred channel to give the impression that they have continued to carry out spectacular attacks. Those videos are neither recent nor genuine.
”The ISIS/Boko Haram propaganda is being deliberately timed to coincide with the Dec. 31st 2015deadline issued to the military by the President to decimate the terrorists, and is also aimed at distracting the military and striking at its all-time high morale.
”But the truth of the matter is that the capability of the military has improved drastically, and there is a higher level of awareness among Nigerians concerning the war against terrorism, which has led them (Nigerians) to increase their support for the troops on the frontline and to also own the war.
”Therefore, the figures being pushed out by ISIS on behalf of Boko Haram represent nothing but a figment of the terrorists’ imagination. We recently visited Bama, from where they once ran their phony Caliphate, but all we saw were gallant troops holding sway. We even shared a delicious lunch of ‘balango’ (a kind of suya) and soft drinks with the troops.
”We therefore wonder where the terrorists have been carrying out their so-called spectacular attacks, as indicated by ISIS, when indeed the capability of the shameless cowards has been so degraded that all they can do now is to target innocent women and children, using equally innocent children and women as their bomb carriers,” he said.
The Minister said the decimated Boko Haram terrorists are so hungry, so broke, so sick and so desperate that all they can now do is to clutch at straws, hence Nigerians should ignore their meaningless propaganda.
”In the days ahead, there will be more of such Boko Haram propaganda, targeted at weakening the resolve of our brave troops, instilling fears into the minds of Nigerians and also seeking to impress their fellow terrorists in ISIS. Nigerians should see the propaganda for what it is: a hoax!” he said.