By Sadiq Umar, Abuja.
The Nigerian media practitioners have been told to beware of mischief makers and “conspiracy theorists” who are bent on orchestrating smear campaign against the military.
Director of Defence Information, Major General Chris Olukolade, who warned against the backdrop of disparaging reports by some local and foreign news media, expressed concern over reports that denigrated the Nigerian military efforts in the ongoing counter terrorism war against Boko Haram insurgents.
Olukolade had earlier on Monday raised concern over what he called, careless talks and undue exuberance by some individuals from the military of neighbouring countries involved in the Multinational Joint Task Force, MJNTF, saying such comments have the implication of destabilising the spirit of the joint efforts against terrorism within the sub-region.
The Defence Spokesman was reacting to statements in some media by officials from the MJTF that troops from Niger and Chad made deep incursions into Nigerian territory to battle Boko Haram elements.
He had cautioned against such statements, saying it was necessary for officers from participating countries to beware of the terms they use while speaking with the press and also understand the implications of those terms.
Commenting further on Monday, Olukolade in a tweet, said there is a deliberate attempt to ridicule the military by mischief makers and conspirators.
According to him, “In a bid to spitefully drown the efforts of our troops, this group of people have been mischievously and exaggeratingly reporting the supportive roles of foreign allies to the detriment of our operational success in the fight against terror.
“They go to every extent to ridicule, taunt or project every falsehood purely to score some points in clandestine sympathy for terrorists.
“This unpatriotic posture is directly or indirectly undermining the esteemed status of Nigeria in the comity of nations.
“The need has therefore arisen for a call on the media to beware of the mischief and conspiracy by some theorists who are still bent on orchestrating a well-rehearsed smear campaign against the Nigerian military.
“They’ve been struggling to attribute recent defeats inflicted on terrorists to the invincibility of other forces other than Nigeria’s.
“Unfortunately, some interest groups who seek to misinterpret this fruitful collaboration are seeking to drive a wedge between the Nigerian military and supporting military formations or contingent by deliberately trying to ridicule the effort of the Nigerian forces.
“If other militaries that have just joined the war against terrorists would be described in some warped reports as “battle-hardened,” Olukolade stated.
“The antics of some foreign media and their local collaborators who will stop at nothing to bring our military to disrepute is no longer new.
“The Nigerian military will not be distracted or detracted from the current momentum which is geared towards stamping out terrorism.
“Much as we value and appreciate the ongoing collaborative effort of the troop contributing nations of the MNJTF, there has been no compromise of any aspect of Nigeria’s sovereignty or soil to any foreign force.
“This counter terrorist operation is comprehensively driven by Nigerian forces,” he stressed.
Adding that, other members of the MNJTF have so far successfully denied the common enemy freedom of trans-border operations.) and this is in consonance with the idea of the multinational coalition initiated as far back as 1998.”
“The Nigerian society coming out in unison to cheer and celebrate the modest achievement of the nation’s forces is inspiring indeed.
“We thank the CinC for the confidence he reposes on his troops and for the support and encouragement he has always extended to the military.
“We are conscious that the fight is not over and the Nigerian military will therefore not relent. Nothing will be taken for granted.
“We must at all-times remain vigilant and conscious of our environment and look out for unrepentant terrorists, collaborators or sympathisers.
“When the country is at WAR, it is not only the military that should be involved but every segment of the society.
“We believe that together, we shall certainly defeat the forces of darkness that strive to destroy our country.
Earlier, the military raised concern over what it called careless talks and undue exuberance by some individuals from the military of neighbouring countries involved in the Multinational Joint Task Force, MJNTF, which have the implication of destabilising the spirit of the joint efforts against terrorism within the sub-region.
The military was reacting to a statement in some media by officials from the MJTF that troops from Niger and Chad made deep incursions into Nigerian territory to battle Boko Haram elements.
Olukolade, advised that it was necessary for officers from participating countries to beware of the terms they use while speaking with the press and also understand the implications of those terms.
According to him, “The location in question has to be mentioned before one can confirm whether it is part of an assigned or authorised mission or an incursion as described. This campaign against terror only makes provision for collaboration and cooperation; not incursion into territories. I think there is a careless use of terms by some inexperienced people or officials eager to make impression without understanding the implications. There’s no allowance for incursion here.
“The truth is that there were some pre-emptive manoeuvres along an axis in the theatre. Nigerian forces were also involved. It is unfortunate if that is what this young man is reporting in this false and divisive way. He may have to be called to order to stop this exuberant attitude of misinforming people as this is not good for our collective efforts. We will take this up where it matters.”