Interview: Nigeria has the measure of Boko Haram

Information minister tells Al Jazeera the country's army have decimated Boko Haram's ability to launch big attacks.

    Nigeria is on top of its security problems and Boko Haram has been hobbled ahead of elections in the oil-rich River State region, according to Information Minister Lai Mohammed. 

    Mohammed said the army had significantly reduced Boko Haram's ability to carry out big attacks, just days after a suspected suicide attack by the group on a mosque left 22 worshippers dead in the northeastern Maiduguri city.

    "The government is on top of the situation in terms of security and I think Nigeria has done really well," Mohammed said in an interview with Al Jazeera on Saturday.

    "The Boko Haram insurgency has been massively decimated to the extent that it is no longer in the position to carry out spectacular attacks."

    Referring to the attack in Maiduguri, Mohammed said there was a difference between lone-wolf attacks and large-scale ones.

    "Before these villagers [in Maiduguri] were under the control of Boko Haram insurgents ... today they have been dislodged. Now they're attacking soft targets, which is what happens with a insurgency on its way out."

    Damage to a mosque in Maiduguri after a deadly suicide attack [AP]

    Oil crisis

    Mohammed also told Al Jazeera that his government saw the current low oil prices as an opportunity to diversify its economy. Nigeria has proven oil reserves of more than 37 billion barrels and a daily output of more than two million, according to OPEC.

    In February, it entered talks with the World Bank for a loan to shore up its finances after oil prices fell to below $30 a barrel.

    The current price of per barrel stands at just above $40, still significantly lower than average prices in 2014 of above $110.

    Mohammed became information minister after President Muhammadu Buhari won elections last year.

    Boko Haram-hit highway reopens for business in Nigeria

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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