Last week one of my media colleagues, Hussaini Mshelia, of an online newspaper drew my attention to the governments’ public campaign in support of the Nigerian Army.
The campaign which is being carried out by the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture is aimed at drumming up public and media support for the army in connection with the ongoing war against insurgents across the country. The Boko Haram war has been on in the North Eastern part of the country for a long time now while other insurgents activities have reared their ugly heads in some parts of the country like in Niger Delta, Zamfara, Benue, Taraba, Kaduna and Plateau State.
Information Minister Lai Mohammed who is behind the government campaign for the army has given two cogent reasons why he thinks the army deserves public support. The first one is that the public is not aware that the army is now fighting a different set of Boko Haram elements from the ISSI faction now known as ISWAP. The other issue which is worrying Lai Mohammed is that some social media elements are in the habit of posting gruesome pictures of victims of the war which often demoralize the troops at the war front.
After I have listened to these explanations I told my colleague that I was not surprised at the actions of Lai Mohammed on the campaign issue. To me the action is long overdue. This is because the war has been on for a long time and Nigerians are expected to show their support and solidarity for the army in the difficult task of fighting the unprincipled extremists who can do anything to get cheap popularity over their opponents.
It was because of these and other reasons that this writer started his own campaign for the support of the army as far back as at the end of last year. My write-up on these issues especially on the need for public support for the Nigerian Army was published in November and December last year in the some national newspapers. In the write-ups I supported the view expressed by the COAS himself and the former army spokesman, Brig. Gen. Sani Usman, that the army needs a massive media and public support to assist them in the ongoing war. This support can boost the morale of the soldiers.
Now that the Ministry of Information has started its own campaign in earnest the public especially the media should take up the challenge in being more professional in their reportage. The public should show more understanding and cooperation with the soldiers to enable them win the war.
The war has been a tough one with the current Chief of Army Staff (CAOS) displaying his wealth of experience, intelligence and extreme courage in subduing and overrunning the dangerous Boko Haram elements. The crushing of the insurgents was achieved through Gen. Buratai bravery and none-nonsense attitude towards the Boko Haram insurgents. The people in the North East can best tell the story of how dangerous the Boko Haram elements are over the years. Many COAS before him could not reach where we are presently as far as the insurgents’ war is concerned.
– Biu sent this from Abuja.
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