The Presidency on Thursday reacted to a letter from United Kingdom lawmakers, legal experts, and campaigners over the security situation in Nigeria and urged them to ignore agents of anarchy and visit Nigeria for genuine information about the country.
The President’s spokesman, Garba Shehu, who stated this in a statement in Abuja, said the visit would enable the UK officials to discuss all points raised in their letter.
Shehu, who highlighted the efforts of the current administration towards ensuring peaceful coexistence among the diverse ethnic and religious groups in the country, dismissed the assertion that the administration had not done much to check social conflicts in the country.
He, however, expressed the readiness of the Nigerian government to work with the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group and all concerned parties to bring a lasting solution to herder-farmer clashes, and the threat posed to all Nigerians – and the Sahel region as a whole – from Boko Haram terrorists and their allies.
He said: “We ask our British colleagues to visit Nigeria, whether formally or informally to discuss all the points raised in their letter. Our government is made equally of Christian and Muslim cabinet members; our Vice President is an Evangelical Pastor.
”We have everything to gain as a country through international cooperation with concerned, senior British parliamentarians, and policymakers.
“The threat to civilians and peaceful co-existence between different ethnic and religious groups from Boko Haram, banditry and land disputes is of serious concern to the President and the government.
“It is incorrect, however, to assert that the government has or is doing nothing to address these intertwined threats.
”Firstly, there are on-going efforts for the establishment of cattle ranches to prevent or curtail open grazing, the practice that brings herders and farmers into conflict. This is an age-old problem facing Nigerian Governments since the colonial days.
”However, matters of land distribution are dealt with at the state level. This means willingness has to be shown by state governors to drive the process forward.”The Federal Government launched a plan last year to work with states to address these issues – together. Unfortunately, this has been lacking in some states.”
On the long and determined battle waged against Boko Haram, Shehu said Nigerians are aware of the efforts made by the government.
”When the government came to power, the terrorist group held and administered an area the size of Belgium. Now they hold none. The terrorists are hiding out amongst remote forests and across borders.
“This makes it difficult to extinguish the final flames of the insurgency, and the government has no illusions of the potent threat still posed. However, the progress made cannot be denied,” he added.