The Nigerian Army has released a statement admonishing the general public and news/political organization to desist from dragging the Army into politics but the backlash that followed the statement on its Facebook page will take you aback.
The statement “LEAVE NIGERIAN ARMY OUT OF POLITICS AND FAKE NEWS” was released November 30, 2018 as follows.
“The Nigerian Army has noted with great concern the deliberate and concerted efforts to mislead the public by some people through misinformation. Thus creating erroneous impression of the Nigerian Army through inaccurate and false publication of casualty figures on the unfortunate attacks on some of its locations in the North East. The latest of this worrisome development was the attack on our troops location at Metele, Borno State, in which some persons and media outlets continued to circulate various wrong acounts and inaccurate casuality figures of own troops without efforts to verify from the military.
“This is coming at the heels of our release of 28th November 2018 in which we gave accurate details of the attacks and casualty figures in a bid to set the records straight and inform the public true account of things. We also promised to continuously carry the public along through accurate and timely information dissemination on operations and other activities of the Nigerian Army in the release.
“However it was observed that the trend continued unabated. Most of these inaccurate, false reports and fake news were aimed at denigrating the leadership of the Nigerian Army.
“Regrettably, the rate at which some mischievous persons ignorantly attack the Armed Forces of Nigeria, especially the Nigerian Army is very alarming and unfortunate. This is deliberate attempt to demoralise the Nigerian Army which would have devastating consequences on troops’ will to discharge their constitutional duties especially in the fight against terrorism and insurgency, thus affecting national security.
“We would like to warn all those mischief makers to keep the Nigerian Army out of their politics and mischief. Journalists and media platforms should be professional and accurate in their reportage. The achievements of the Nigerian Army within the last three years are glaringly obvious, therefore, whatever recent temporary setbacks we experienced in the course of the fight against terrorism and insurgency should not be the yardstick for condemning these laudable three and half years’ accomplishments.
“We have however identified the few unpatriotic harbingers of the fake news on the attack at Metele and would take appropriate legal actions against them. This is to ensure that the Nigerian Army is insulated from propaganda and ulterior motives of destabilising the country. The Nigerian Army is quite aware that the perpetrators through these acts are covertly supporting terrorists and their activities in Nigeria with a long term objective. We are also aware that they want to use insecurity to scuttle and subvert the democratic process in the country.
“Consequently, we would like to state unequivocally that no amount of mischief or pressure would circumvent the journey to a peaceful, free and fair general elections in Nigeria. We therefore need the continued support, encouragement and understanding of well meaning Nigerians as we deal decisively with the remnants of the Boko Haram terrorists hibernating at the fringes of our borders with contiguous countries of Cameroon, Chad and Niger Republic.
“We are committed to the defence of the territorial integrity of Nigeria. We hasten to state that we will continue to be professional in our assigned roles and remain apolitical at all times. Once more we warn mischief makers and proponents of misinformation and fake news to desist from the such practice and join other well meaning, law abiding Nigerians to support our Army to countering terrorism and insurgency in the country.
“Kindly disseminate this to the public through your medium.
“Thank you for your cooperation and support.”
The statement was signed by SANI KUKASHEKA USMAN, Brigadier General, Director Army Public Relations.
Some persons reacting to the statement issued by the Nigerian Army were quick to point out that the Nigerian Army has unknowingly indicted itself of being political by the contents of the statement it released and several other actions it has taken.
Prince M Onyedikachi Edwards lambasted the Nigerian Army writing “You put out a statement calling on the citizens not to drag the NA into politics through their statement concerning the war on terror yet you restricted the NA achievement to just three and half years ago which is the current life span of the APC government. So who is being political now?”
“Show!!! So Nigeria Army just started fighting Book haram for just three and half year. Meaning they have been aiding the bokoharam until recently. What a political army. And army is now the maintainers of ‘peaceful free and fair election’ a position hitherto held by the police. A great change indeed. Continue apolitical army indeed”, Ndibe Reuben wrote.
Titus Asuk-enim has this to say, “The perception remains strong that the army is partisan. How can you justify your attack on the training of Rivers State Neighborhood guards when similar set ups in APC states have never been molested. The neighborhood guards is a valid creation of law enacted by Rivers state House Of Assembly”.
“I need to draw your attention to the fact that fake news flourish in the absence of real news. If the Army had rose above board and give timely details of what happened, the public wouldn’t have reasons to cook up stories or believe in false stories.
“Try to Always swing into action and feed the public with real news”, added Peter Egbigbi Ilegbejie.