The comment from Lai Mohammed has led to an outrage on social media. Bandits, kidnappers, armed robbers, Fulani herders, ethnic militants have made life difficult for Nigerians.
Buhari, a former army commander and military ruler in the 1980s, was first elected in 2015 and re-elected four years later on a pledge to end the Boko Haram insurgency in the northeast.
Rather than abate, the Islamist rebellion has stubbornly persisted with a Boko Haram splinter faction, Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), becoming the dominant jihadist force.
Since 2009 when it began, the jihadist uprising has killed 36,000 people and forced over two million others to flee their homes in Nigeria’s northeast alone.
Nigeria’s defence minister Bashir Salihi Magash recently told Nigerians not to “be cowards” and to stand up to armed bandits.
Lai Mohammed’s recent statement has attracted backlash from Nigerians.
“This was clear from day one, Nigerian government’s only job is to bring hardship and suffering on hardworking citizens and then murder people who are not from Buhari’s region,” Jacob, a Nigerian wrote on Twitter in reaction to the minister’s comment.
Lai Mohammed made the statement while responding to statements credited to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party on the country’s security challenges. The minister said, “The PDP alleged that kidnappers and bandits are not being brought to justice. This is aimed at the Federal Government.
“It is shocking that a party that ruled this nation for all of 16 years does not know that kidnapping and banditry are not federal offences.
“The PDP should therefore call out the states, including those being controlled by it, to ensure a rigorous prosecution of arrested kidnappers and bandits.
“Meanwhile, PDP conveniently forgot that as far as terrorism, a federal offence, is concerned, this Federal Government has successfully prosecuted thousands of Boko Haram members in Kainji, as part of a continuing exercise. We are now seeking the cooperation of the judiciary to continue with the trial of arrested terrorists.”