He said every country in the world is battling with criminality and that Nigeria cannot be an exemption.
While speaking on Channels Television on Sunday, March 11, 2018, the president's spokesman said every country in the world is battling with criminality and that Nigeria cannot be an exemption.
His reply was in reaction to a question about the success of the Nigerian Army's Exercise Ayem Akpatuma (Cat Race) aimed at curbing crime across six troubled states in the country.
He said, "I think that nobody, no politician should try to deceive Nigerians by saying that there is a country without lawlessness.
"Even when he campaigned - the President, yes, committed to ridding the country of terror, but he never would have said that this country would be 100% without criminality.
"Even the more advanced states of the world, nations like United States, everyone is at an alert and terrorism in particular - you just don't sleep with your eyes closed."
Shehu also defended the president's efforts over ensuring security in the country, disclosing that there were more violent clashes happening in the country only five years ago.
"In any case, looking at all of the numbers, you know that within 2013 and 2014, the sort of attacks we are talking about had been more prevalent. In 2013, there were nine of such violent attacks - Fulani herdsmen and the farmers, Tiv farmers and Idoma farmers, Tiv farmers and the Tiv communities; all of these things were there. In 2014, it was a lot worse," he said.
The president's spokesman also took time out to condemn people who have tried to politicise the killings in the country.
He said, "There is a sense that some people see in some of these things happening, tragic as they are, unfortunate as they are - that it can be used as a strategy to win an election.
"They are just celebrating and exulting over all of these matters instead of coming together so that we can solve the problems."
The army announced on February 7 that it would commence Exercise Ayem Akpatuma in six states across the country to combat a series of criminal activities.
The exercise runs from February 15 to March 31, 2018 in Benue, Taraba, Kogi, Nasarawa, Kaduna and Niger.
Troops will engage in raids, cordon and search operations, road blocks, show of force and checkpoints to combat criminal activities in the affected states.