The world we live in now is undergoing a revolution in technology, communications and information flow in business practices and organizational structures, in ways nations relate to one another and respond to their publics, in the ability of how regional and international organizations respond to conflicts, humanitarian and natural disasters. These, the military hierarchy in Nigeria, have taken into cognizance and working assiduously to maintain its rules of engagement and international best practices.
Revolution in military affairs is changing the very nature and conduct of war. The Nigerian military is seeking to align and adapt to the new realities both within the individual service structures – Army, Air force, Navy- and in a joint way, where the capabilities of each of the services must be brought to achieve Nigeria’s security objectives. The new world environment demands new ways of doing things as much as how to command a unit and take the next hill or piece of land.
Our military forces have remained the best in Africa; they have remained the best led, best trained and best equipped. They are focused on the onerous task ahead of protecting and safeguarding the territorial integrity of Nigeria.
The attention of Africa Advocacy for Leadership and Good Governance (AALG) and Transparency Network Centre (TNC), two pro – human rights groups, have been drawn to the numerous media publications and headlines skewed and slanted to favor the insurgents against the Nigerian army for some time now. This is a propaganda orchestrated by enemies of our unity, peace and stability of Nigeria. They are just giving the impression that the insurgents are winning the war. This is a deliberate falsehood and misleading narrative invidiously calculated to tarnish the unblemished professional reputation of our distinguished military, who have spent the better part of their lives protecting and defending this country from external aggression and securing the territory of Nigeria.
Ordinarily, we could have kept quiet, as some of these subterranean moves are aimed at denigrating and maligning the Nigerian military and burying their hard fought war into oblivion by falsely casting sensational headlines in favor of the insurgents. We are constrained to issue the following statements.
1. The recent attacks of Boko Haram against the Nigerian Military have been celebrated widely with twisted facts and information regarding the true nature of what happened on the battlefield by international media, individuals and their co- travelers by hyping the ambushes, counter-attacks and repulsion from the Boro Haram to high heavens and downplaying the victories of the Nigerian Military as if Boko Haram are having a field day. The truth is: Boko Haram is losing the battle on several fronts, and disseminating falsehood on the media-field. Most of the gains achieved, battles repelled, men of Boko Haram captured and killed were denied mention in the Nigeria media space and public domain, all in a bid to give an impression of defeat against the military and dampen the morale of its gallant fighters.
2. The high Boko Haram casualties were deliberately ignored, thrown to the dustbins and the scores arrested were also not captured in most of the stories, casting the headlines that Boko haram is back and fiercer. This is a propaganda ploy and strategy orchestrated by the enemies of Nigeria and fifth columnists all in a bid to purr the statistics in favor of the insurgents.
3. For point of emphasis, it is also common knowledge that the Boko Haram insurgents have been degraded, decimated and defeated. They are scattered all over the northeast in small cells where they launch opportunistic attacks and the Nigerian Military are on their toes every day making sure that these small pockets that cause myriads of challenges here and there will be rounded up soonest. A lot of military personnel have been deployed to these remote areas to nip in the bud once and for all these pockets of Boko Haram insurgents trying to regroup. A realistic assessment of the security situation shows the insurgents are not winning the war but have been degraded and demystified by the Nigerian military.
4. The resurgence of violence in some parts of the country is to politicians who are desperately seeking powers at whatever cost, and for political gains have seen them pitch tent with insurgents and they expect a sustained insurrection against the government of the day without thought or its implications and impact on the national security. It is of note also, that international non-governmental organizations (NGOs), that have become the official mouthpieces of terrorists and collaborators for reasons best known to them, and some questionable characters and individuals posing as either journalists, like Ahmed Sakilda, and help promote propaganda under the guise of exclusives, news breaking reports, tweets or stories in social media to discredit the Nigerian Army.
Also, some neighboring countries see nothing wrong in the insurgents operating from their enclaves to launch attacks on Nigeria. These so called cronies of the terrorists aid and abet them by slanting and planting stories in the media in favor of terrorists.
5. The nation’s major security challenges today include the Boko Haram threats, militancy, cultism, secession and extremism, inter-ethnic religious and communal violence which have all been abated and reduced drastically by the sacrifices of the Nigerian military. At a time, when people play politics with virtually everything, the military continues to make sacrifices to keep the nation together. Nigerians need to support the military and encourage them for having lost quite a number of their personnel defending the territorial integrity of the nation.
6. It is high time; we inspired our military men with our words, actions and support as they go out daily to make their ultimate sacrifice. The spurious and orchestrated plots by enemies of the Nigeria should be discountenanced and disregarded by well meaning citizens. As the stories emanating from some sections of the media are nothing but blatant lies and propaganda aimed at denigrating the Nigerian Army, we call on all Nigerians to join hands with the military for information sharing and intelligence gathering so as to nip in the bud also herdsmen/farmers clashes once and for all as the military alone cannot do it without the collective responsibilities of Nigerians.
7. Just recently, over 50,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) have returned to their various communities and ancestral homes which were made possible by the conduct of the current “Operation Last Hold” by the army in Borno north and Lake Chad region respectively. About 184 reformed child soldiers arrested while fighting on the side of the insurgents were handed over to the United Nations on July 9, 2018, at the Maimalari Barracks of the 7th Division in Maiduguri, Borno State. The Federal Government has also raised 1,000 member military forces to tackle Zamfara bandits terrorism drawn from the Army, Air force, police and Civil Defence.
8. Just recently also, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Buratai, has approved “Forward Operating Bases” (FOBs) to counter external aggressions at the 82 division Enugu State. The FOBs will be located at the stretch of the Nigerian border from the Taraba axis, to Bakassi axis. And that is a proactive decision to effectively curb activities of insurgents at Nigeria’s borderlines. We therefore, condemn in strong terms, the intemperate and malicious publications slanted against the Nigerian army in some sections of media deliberately to smear their hard earned reputation. We pass a vote of confidence nationalistic disposition towards the enhancement of peace and stability in the country. We urge them to remain focused and undeterred in their on-going onslaught against the Boko Haram insurgents and criminalities across the country. They should not be distracted and discouraged by the antics of evil doers and fifth columnists who do not mean well for our nation.
9. Our military paid the price for victory and as such we have a moral duty to celebrate them. They need our prayers, support and encouragement at this time of our history. They are the pride of the nation and therefore, we should disregard all the innuendos orchestrated by unpatriotic sympathizers of the insurgents, and wish to assert that no propaganda, blackmail, intrigues, misinformation and fallacies against the Nigerian military will turn the Nigerian nation against its very own. The purveyors of these stories and individuals engaged in acts capable of undermining the security or reanimating a dying Boko Haram, should be dealt with by the Federal Government hence forth. While we urged the media to be vigilant and not to be hoodwinked by unscrupulous and devilish elements in the society to malign the good name and integrity of the military and refrain from publishing any falsehood against the Nigerian military without checking out first with the authorities for fairness, objectivity and balanced reportage.
8. We believe that true and genuine peace can only come through social justice. This is the time when we need that resolute and unbiased reportage of news so that our people will not be deceived into doing things that can disintegrate the country further.
Mahmud Bello Farouk Umar
National Coordinator, President
Africa Advocacy for Transparency Network Centre (TNC)
Leadership and good