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OPINION

Fake News Demoralises Soldiers

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Nigerian Army is reported to be unhappy and worried about the negative impact of fake news being released on the morale of the Nigerian troops in the war front currently engaged in fighting the Boko Haram insurgents in the North Eastern part of the country.

The Army seriously believes that such spreading of fake news by the social media is not only very dangerous to soldiers’ psychology but is also capable of causing great havoc in the on-going war against insurgents. It could damage soldiers’ morale and even cause disunity in the country.

I agree with the army because this action could lead to greater problems in the army. Brigadier General Sani Usman, the army’s spokesman, spoke almost in the same vein while being introduced on the NTA Network News last week’s Weekend Extra, on behalf of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt, Gen TY Buratai as monitored in Abuja on Saturday. Brigadier Usman, was visibly worried as reacting to the presentation of fake news to the public by the social media and an online magazine about the alleged killing of many Nigerian soldiers when they were attacked by Boko Haram elements in Metele, Guzamala local government area of Borno State, which caused serious anxiety in the country. My colleagues and other social media must try to be faithful and God fearing in whatever they do.

The Army spokesman did not hide his feelings during the brief interview when he said, the negative impact of such fake news on soldiers’ morale was devastating as some of the soldiers felt very bad about the proliferation or spreading of such false information on the 18th of November when the troops were attacked by the insurgents. The truth of the matter according to Brigadier Usman was that only 23 of the soldiers were killed while 31 of them were receiving treatment as a result of the attack.

Usman, like most right thinking people, had wondered how any news media outfit or the social media could just go ahead and concoct whatever they like and fed the public with such unsubstantiated false information. The army spokesman was justifiably right in condemning in very strong words the activities of such social media of fake news writing journalists who are involved in what is popularly known as yellow journalist at the expense of the nation. Their actions is to say the least “unpatriotic and a letdown”. I agree with the spokesman.

Even though the Nigerian troops have actually recorded a lot of successes in the on-going war within the past years, the tow factors of the Boko Haram have launched about 10-15 of such attacks on the troops but were repelled on many occasions by our soldiers. At the end of most of these attacks the insurgents had encountered heavy losses according to Usman as the gallant soldiers had chased them into bushes and some hidden places where they are probably hibernating now.

As explained by Brigadier Usman the soldiers are still on top of the situation despite the war, attack on them. They have continued to record successes while the insurgents have recorded heavy losses and casualties after they were neutralised by the soldiers with over 90 per cent of them being rendered useless and militarily degraded. Many people across the country are of the firm view that the Nigerian soldiers are now pushing for a renewal trust or efforts to completely defeat the Boko Haram elements in the North East.

After the attack on the soldiers, President Muhammadu Buhari and top military officers including Gen Buratai, the Defense Minister, Brigadier Dan Ali had last week visit the troops and commiserated with them. Buhari had during the visit reassured the soldiers that their welfares would be enhanced and that good weapons and working tools would be given to them to carry out their assignments. The Defense Minister gave the same assurance to the soldiers.

On his own part, Gen Buratai who had one on one discussion with the troops also told them that new strategies would be introduced aimed at tackling the situation at hand. The soldiers, he said, would be properly motivated and empowered to give them the power to deal with the insurgents, decisively. Tukur expressed the view that there must be determined efforts on the part of the soldiers to complete the job of destroying the insurgents. The Chief of Army Staff (COAS) who had to relocate the just concluded COAS Conference from Benin to Maiduguri as a result of the attack on the soldiers reassured that the situation wouldsoon change for the better.

Also as a result of the attack, President Buhari had last week, held a meeting with his Chadian, Niger and Cameroonian counterparts during which they discussed about strategies of dealing with the Boko Haram issue especially concerning the recent attacks on Nigerian soldiers. It was agreed that a joint and multi-pronged, well-coordinated attack should be carried out on the insurgents by a joint troop who should be supplied with the right caliber of weapons. They commiserated with the Nigerian troops and assured them of their continued support and cooperation their continued effort to uproot the insurgents.

Biu sent this from Abuja.





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