By Tunde Oguntola, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has urged media owners and practitioners to make use of their platforms in the deradicalisation of Nigerians who have been hoodwinked by the fringe ideology of Boko Haram.
Speaking at the opening of Pulaaku radio station in Yola, Adamawa State, President Buhari noted that media can help change the mentality of people, as well as arouse the consciousness of Nigerians on the need to know that security is the business of all, not for security agencies alone.
Buhari said the war against Boko Haram, which has been widely successful especially in degrading the capacity of the terrorists to launch organized and coordinated attacks, has moved to the next phase, which will be intelligence-driven.
He stressed that awareness is very important because of the need to tackle the desperate and cowardly actions of Boko Haram terrorists who, having been scourged and scattered, have now resorted to using innocent and mostly under-age female girls to carry out suicide bomb attacks against soft targets.
President Buhari assured Nigerians that the administration is taking the necessary measures to end the suicide bombings by Boko Haram terrorists, saying the attacks are like the last kicks of a dying horse.
The President, who was represented by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said Boko Haram has been massively degraded and its surviving members put on the run.
He said, ”Instead of being hunters, they are now the hunted. In their desperation to stay relevant, they have resorted to the wicked and dastardly act of using innocent under-aged children to carry out suicide bomb attacks.
”But what we are witnessing now are the last kicks of a dying horse. Yes, these kicks may be dangerous, but they don’t last long. Progressively, they become weaker and weaker until the horse finally dies.’’
President Buhari said the war against Boko Haram has moved to the next phase, which is intelligence-driven, with a view to ending the suicide bombings.
”That is why I approved the establishment of an intelligence fusion centre in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, to gather and share intelligence among security agencies in the country. This will go a long way in ending this campaign of suicide bombing,” he said
The President said the new phase would depend largely on information and communication, and therefore rallied the media, especially radio and television stations, to play their part in enlightening the populace.
”We are building on the nationwide campaign we launched last year, with the payoff line: ‘If you see something, say something’. It simply means that we need everyone to be involved in getting the necessary information to tackle the terrorists. They are not ghosts, and some of them live among us. We must all, therefore, support our gallant troops, many of whom have made the supreme sacrifice in this war, by providing information that can help rid our communities of terrorists.
”It is important for the media – especially radio and television – to continue to play their part in this war, by offering their platforms to communicate useful information to the populace. As part of our sensitization campaign, which is still running on national radio and television as we speak, we put out those little signs that give up the terrorists, and which the people must watch out for. Help us communicate this information to the people,” he said
The President described as most auspicious the timing of the commissioning of the radio station, and implored it as well as other radio stations to donate airtime for the national sensitisation campaign.
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