Recent weeks have seen sections of the legacy and new media, especially the international components, hyping Boko Haram’s ambushes of government troops and attacks on military formations. These attacks are not only celebrated with some sort of twisted glee but their rendition by those that are in a hurry to push such reports is such that the valour of the Nigerian Army in repelling the attacks is often underplayed or sometimes completely ignored. The number of terrorists killed in such incursions is usually deliberately ignored such that citizens are clearly being frightened with stories that suggest that Boko Haram has the upper hand.
Nothing can be farther from the truth. Prior to December 2016 when the Nigerian Army, under the leadership of Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, symbolically captured Camp Zero in Sambisa Forest, the military had rapidly degraded Boko Haram with series of strategic operations that have resulted in the surrender, arrest or killing of its top commanders. Fortunately, the Army did not relent after the capture of Sambisa Forest as it continued series of mop-up operations to root out whatever was left of the terrorists.
But even such glaring degradation of Boko Haram is not something that gives joy to everyone. There are politicians whose desperation for political gains has seen them pitch tent with terrorists from whom they expect a sustained insurrection against the government of the day without thought to how this impacts national security and stability. There are the local and international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that have become the official mouth pieces of terrorists for reasons that till date defy logic. These are backed up by questionable interventions by individuals that pose either as journalists or activists, who help promote terrorist propaganda under the guise of exclusive reports, tweets or stories. On top of all these are Nigeria’s neighbours to the north east who see nothing wrong in Boko Haram launching attacks on Nigeria from their territories.
Even when the combination of the above factors creates the impression that calamity is unfolding in the land, a realistic assessment of where the country was four years ago relative to where things stand now easily shows that the terrorists are not winning.
At that time, the terrorists had carved out a territory of their own out of Nigeria where they hoisted their flag and from there launched attacks across the north, including the Federal Capital Territory. But the story is different now. The Nigerian Army has largely restricted them to the fringes of the border with Niger, Chad and Cameroon, from where they unfortunately launch opportunistic attacks and flee across the borders into these foreign territories. These attacks are now being hyped as Boko Haram being revived. The reality however is that the victory of the Nigerian state over these deranged extremists is not in doubt.
Our Armed Forces have paid the price for victory and we have a moral duty to celebrate them for their achievement if only to use this to spur them into doing even more to get rid of whatever is left of this menace. At a time when people play politics with everything in the country, the military continues to make sacrifices to keep the country together; it is crucial that the larger part of the population that do not have the luxury of fleeing to foreign lands as VIP refugees do all that is possible to inspire the soldiers laying their lives down on the war front. It is the one way not to fall for the bandwagon trend of castigating a military that needs our prayers, support and encouragement.
It is, therefore, pertinent that every Nigerian alive today realises that they have roles to play in sustaining the country’s victory over Boko Haram by not helping to amplify propaganda that is meant to demoralise government troops while providing materials for terrorists’ recruitment. Citizens should support government and even call for a stiffer federal government stance against countries, organisations and individuals that are known to engage in acts capable of reanimating a dying Boko Haram. To achieve total victory, the military of a country fighting terrorism needs all the components of its society to complement its efforts by not appearing, under any guise, to embolden the enemy.
As a newspaper, we support the military in its patriotic efforts to deliver on our collective desire to tame terror in the country.
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