It has been keenly observed with disappointment that the Nigerian media have not been giving expected moral support to the troops of Nigerian Armed Forces since the unfortunate outbreak
of counter insurgency war in the North East.
If the truth must be stated bluntly here, all sections of Nigeria media are guilty of having preference for loud reportage of negative news that are mostly in favour of the insurgents. This trend of unpatriotic reportage has often than not regularly triggers the thought of knowing what the media in Nigeria stand to gain from their obviously biased reportage that has continuously, albeit unconsciously been giving moral strength to the terrorists of Boko Haram and ISWAP.
The last negative news that virtually all sections of media literally jump at and reported it loudly was on Tuesday, March 24, 2020 when Boko Haram terrorists ambushed and killed 50 Nigerian soldiers. The dominant screaming headline read, “50 Nigerian Soldiers Killed in Deadly Boko Haram Ambush”. Nothing was absolutely wrong in reporting such a huge loss of whooping 50 soldiers in just one operation. The temporal setback was actually bad and negative. However, the media that reported this negative news ought, in the interest of fairness and balanced reportage to have kept Nigerian public updated with the recent successive successes that Nigerian Army have recorded in the counter insurgency war.
It was hardly reported in the media that the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Burutai had since relocated to the Theatre Command in Maiduguri to personally coordinate operational strategies and supervising the troops commanders. It did not even make the news that Burutai did not promptly return to Maiduguri to bury his mother that passed on recently. Instead, the COAS has
chosen to remain at the front line of the insurgency war to encourage and motivate the troops.
As expected, the press briefing by the Coordinator of Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche in which he informed the media that 343 Boko Haram/ISWAP fighters and 153 armed bandits had been killed by the troops between
March 18 and May 5, 2020 was
barely reported by small section of the media. Meanwhile, the same media would have come up with different screaming versions of headlines if it were the terrorists that had killed only 10 out of Nigerian soldiers.
Besides, it was equally sparsely reported that several captives of the terror groups had been rescued within the last four weeks by troops of Nigerian Army. But if it was the other way round, the media would have dished out different versions of screaming headlines to hurriedly alert the nation that certain some of the citizens have been captured by terrorists.
Deservedly, the troops of Nigerian Armed Forces and the Multinational Joint Task Force ((MNJTF) are worthy of huge accolades for the
monumental successes they have recorded over Boko Haram and ISWAP fighters in recent time. The troops have been giving their all to rid this nation of all forms of terrorism and banditry. Likewise, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General TY Burutai is equally deserving of commendation for showing leadership by leading the war physically even at a huge risk to his own life.
If the media would not help the military to blow its trumpet of success very loudly, few patriotic Nigerians will take up the task. Nigerians deserve to know that the military have since changed its strategy of repelling attacks of the terrorists. The strategy that had recently been adopted is to smoke out the terrorists from their evil hideouts and give them bloody noses. In carrying out this strategy, the Air Task Force of Operation Lafiya Dole on April 25, 2020 executed air strikes that neutralised several ISWAP fighters at Kolloram on the fringes of Lake Chad in Borno State.
It has become a patriotic duty to scream to the hearing of Nigerians that Nigerian Air Task Force of Operation Lafiya Dole and Nigerien Air Force in a joint operation with the Multinational Joint Task Force killed scores of Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) in series of aerial bombardments in the early hours of Tuesday, May 5, 2020 at Dumba and Location Charlie on the fringes of Lake Chad.
In addition, sheer patriotism has equally informed the need to make it known that the troops of Nigerian Army yet again in another operation
between May 1 and May 2, 2020 around the Timbuktu Triangle General Area killed another 78 Boko Haram and ISWAP fighters. Also, 7 gun trucks that belonged to Boko Haram were destroyed in the operation by the offensive support group of Operation Kantana Jimlan.
It will be most unfair to the gallants soldiers if Nigerians are not well informed that members of Boko Haram and ISWAP terror groups have been weakened through hunger as a result of the adopted strategy by the troops of Nigerian Army to block the main supply route of the criminals. Moreso, we need to encourage the dogged soldiers by informing Nigerians that troops of Nigeria military in the month of in the third week of April, 2020 captured Bula Shatane village from terrorists, while two Boko Haram commanders also surrendered in Bama.
How best can we lift the spirits of our courageous soldiers at the fore front of insurgency war in the North than to inform the nation that the Army troops killed 134 Boko Haram members in Borno State alone in the first week of May, 2020. We also need to make it known that the sustained aerial and artillery bombardments of the insurgents have left Boko Haram commanders with no other choice than to indicate interests to surrender their arms and ammunition and to start pushing for a peace deal.
Recently, the troops of Nigerian Army also had a successful artillery engagement with Boko Haram fighters at Buk in Damboa Local Government Area of Borno State. Joyfully, the assault engagement resulted in the neutralization of 56 Boko Haram terrorists. In a similar operation, 11 Boko Haram members were equally neutralised by the troops of Nigerian Army on Tuesday, April 21, 2020, while many of the insurgents escaped with fatal injuries. It is worth stating here that scores of the terrorists had also surrendered their arms and ammunition due to the superior and sustained fire powers of Nigerian troops.
Away from the successes recorded at the war front by Nigerian Army, the Defence Industrial Corporation of Nigeria (DICON) recently produced low cost mobile ventilators for Continuous Mandatory Ventilation (CMV) and Intermittent Positive Pressure Ventilation (IPPV). It is doubtful if this achievement ever made headline in any of the nation’s national newspapers. Wide reportage of this achievement would definitely have gone a long way to spur the creative soldiers to greater achievements.
It must be sounded hard that either of the conscious or unconscious effort by the media to under-report the achievements of Nigerian Armed Forces could only amount to a whirlwind that will not blow anyone any good. The earlier the media in Nigeria decide to give moral support to the gallant soldiers at the war front, the better for the war on insurgency. But whichever line the media may choose to toe, it is quite certain that the ongoing insurgency war in the North East will end any time soon once the terrorists are completely routed.
Wale Adegoroye is a Public Affairs analyst and he lives in Lagos.