The Nigerian government has called on the United States to exhibit neutrality ahead of the country's 2019 general elections.
The country's Information and Culture Minister, Mr. Lai Mohammed, spoke in Abuja against the backdrop of alleged visa issuance lobbying by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party Presidential candidate, Mr. Atiku Abubakar.
The Minister, who stated that it was rightly the prerogative of a country to issue entrance visa to whomever it wished, but at this juncture, the U.S must be careful, so as not to be perceived as endorsing and supporting one candidate against the other as Nigeria enters a crucial election year.
We are not panicking regarding the PDP Presidential candidate lobby for U.S visa. All we are saying is that as the U.S decides on the visa issuance caution should not be thrown away in respect of perception.
It is the prerogative of any country to grant visa to whomever it wishes but let it not look like an endorsement of a particular candidate over another.
The corruption investigation issue is a public issue all over the place. Issuance of visa is not our problem however; we want the U.S to be very neutral. They should be careful not to allow the decision to create a wrong impression against the principle of neutrality.
The Minister alleged that the former Vice President had engaged some professional lobbyist from the U.S to help facilitate the visa issuance.
Speaking on the recent set back in the war against insurgency, the minister said despite the recent attacks, the government had decimated the insurgents and he premised his argument on where the insurgency level was and where it is at the moment.
The insurgents where somehow active in about 10 states across the federation and had taken over and were in control of 20 out of 27 local councils in the Borno state in the North East before we took over.
Now they have been decimated to a point that they only operate from the fringes of the lake Chad Island.
He said the unfortunate incident of last were scores of soldiers were killed was just an unfortunate set back in the war.
It was just a setback but not to say that the war against insurgency is not well prosecuted. What is important is the steps government has taken to redress the situation and win the war.
He said President Buhari's visit to Chad were all heads of states of the Lake Chad basin met, was part of strategies to combine effort and seek the support of neighbours and partners to prosecute the war.
He affirmed that Nigeria would win the war against insurgency regardless of the set back.
The minister says people tend to underestimate the power of insurgency globally.
According to him, concerted and collaborative effort was needed to deal with the menace effectively.
Source: Voice of Nigeria