President Goodluck Jonathan denied some media reports quoting him as suggesting terrorism was normal in the country.
Reuben Abati, special adviser to the president on media and publicity, said such reports were false and a “harmful misrepresentation.”
“Reports in a section of the media which quoted President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan as saying at a Christmas church service on Wednesday in Abuja that “terrorism has come to stay” in Nigeria are completely untrue and a mischievous misrepresentation of the President’s remarks.
“President Jonathan’s verifiable remarks at the Cathedral Church of the Advent, Life Camp Abuja were to the effect that in comparison with some other countries which have experienced the scourge of terrorism, Nigeria has made remarkable progress in dealing with the security challenges posed by terrorism and insurgency,” Abati stated.
He said some headlines in the media were therefore most incongruous with the thrust of the President’s remarks and amounted to taking extreme editorial liberties with his comments at the church service.
“It is apparent that in their indecent haste to cast the most sensational and negative headlines, some editors never paused to consider that it would have been most absurd for a President whose administration has done so much to reverse the tide of terrorism, to publicly assert the contrary,” Abati added.
He said while speaking at the Church where he worshipped, along with members of his family, his aides and some Ministers, President Jonathan only pointed out that whereas terrorism remained a global challenge and a source of continuing concern in some countries, Nigeria had done comparatively better in reducing the incidence of terrorist attacks.
“Interpreting those remarks, which are clearly in tandem with facts available to all objective observers of Nigeria’s war against terrorism as an expression of defeat or helplessness, amounts to reckless scaremongering which can only serve the purpose of needlessly instigating fear among the populace and bolstering the confidence of criminal and unpatriotic elements.”
He urged the media to evade undue negativity and join hands with the government to patriotically promote peace, national security and political stability.
“The war against terrorism is very winnable and President Jonathan’s administration is steadily winning it in Nigeria. The Federal Government, the Armed Forces and national security agencies will continue to build on the successes they have achieved so against terrorists, insurgents and their sponsors.”