The Federal Government says most of the female suicide bombers being used by Boko Haram do not know that they are carrying bombs.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said this on Tuesday when he paid a courtesy visit to the Punch Place, the corporate headquarters of Punch Nigeria Limited in Magboro, Ogun State.
Mohammed said this while reacting to the spate of bombings being perpetrated by teenage girls in recent times.
He explained that the girls were usually given the bombs as a parcel to deliver in a busy place while a man would stand at a distance to detonate the bombs.
He said, “Suicide bombers usually walk in threes. There is the man who leads. The leader will ensure that the small girl who is strapped with the bomb knows the road. The small girl never knows what she is carrying.
“She is simply told to go and deliver a parcel at a market. That leader would have taken her to the market days before to show her the direction of the market. On the day she is to deliver the package, the man will lead and by then she is strapped.
“Then there is another person that tails her from behind who will make sure that she doesn’t change her mind or turns in another direction. These bombs are detonated remotely. This is how cowardly these people are. These girls are not indoctrinated. Most of them don’t know what they are carrying. Some of them do it for as little as N5, 000 which is given to their parents.”
The minister insisted that the Federal Government had largely won the war against insurgency.
He, therefore, urged the media to be patriotic in reporting insurgency by publicising the successes of the military and the failures of the terrorists.
Mohammed said before now terrorists took over many towns and villages in the North-East and declared a caliphate such that all the signposts were changed from English language to Arabic.
He, however, said such a development was no longer possible as the military had flushed them out and they no longer had a command centre.
He added, “Publicity is the oxygen that any insurgent or group uses to survive. We are not saying that you should stop reporting. We are saying that in a time of war, no newspaper can afford to be neutral. It is because of peace we are all sitting here.
“During the Northern Island/British war, no newspaper used Jerry Adam’s picture for a while because they saw that Adams was being glamourised and became a hero to many people.
“These reports give the impression that the government is losing the war. No country can stop this kind of soft attacks. France was not under any insurgency when terrorists surprised the entire country. They went to the stadium and cinemas to kill people.”
Mohammed said even though the terrorists had been decimated, they would continue to hit soft targets. He, therefore, urged civilians to be vigilant as the military had done its part.
He said the fact that bombs were being detonated did not mean that Boko Haram was winning. The minister noted that even after the Nigerian Civil War ended on January 15, 1970, some belligerents continued to fight on until they lost steam. He said this was how the war on terror would also end.
The minister urged Nigerians to continue to assist the Internally Displaced Persons living in camps, adding that many of the displaced persons were susceptible to contracting communicable diseases.