Don’t lose hope in military to rout terrorists – FG urges Nigerians

By Oluwaseun Sonde

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The Federal Government of Nigeria has urged Nigerians not to lose hope in the capability and commitment of the military to rout the terrorists, rather, Nigerians should continue to support the men and women in uniform, who are fighting the terrorists with grit and determination.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed disclosed this during a meeting with Online Publishers in Lagos on Tuesday, while reacting to the killing of farmers in Borno State recently, he said it is an act of cowardice and savagery by a group of deranged terrorists, and does not reflect the progress being made by the military against Boko Haram.

According to him, “Going after soft targets is an act of weakness and desperation by the terrorists, who have suffered huge setbacks in the hands of the military in recent times. The modus operandi of a losing terror group is to go after soft targets in order to stay relevant. It’s not only Boko Haram that does that.

“In 2019, Al-Shabab attacked DusitD2 Complex in Nairobi, Kenya, killing more than 20. Similarly, the Peshawar school massacre of 16 December 2014 in Pakistan, carried out by six gunmen affiliated with the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, left about 150 people dead, most of them students”, he said.

Alhaji Lai spoke about how fake news and disinformation triggered the recent #EndSARS protest and the aftermath present a rare opportunity to see how these twin evils could aggravate issues. “For example, the knee-jerk reactions of some countries were informed by fake news and disinformation, and varying figures of those purportedly killed in the hoax massacre at the Lekki Toll Gate are being bandied around.

“For example, Parliamentarians in Britain put the figure of those killed at 10, CNN first reported 38 and then lowered the number to 1. And DJ Switch’s numbers cascaded from 78 dead to 15 to 7! It is most disheartening that Parliamentarians in a country with a history of upholding the finest ideals of democracy will act in such an uninformed manner on an issue such as EndSARS.

“The quality of the debate at the British Parliament on EndSARS was under par. Fake accusations based on fake news and disinformation were levelled against the Federal Government by poorly-informed
participants at the debate. One MP even accused former Nigerian leader Gen. Yakubu Gowon (rtd), who served this country to the best of his ability, of stealing half of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

“Sheer Ignorance! The flippant MP, who unfortunately chairs the Foreign Affairs Committee of the British House of Commons, did a great disservice to himself, the Committee he chairs and the entire Parliament by allowing himself to be misled by fake news exponents. Fittingly, the British Government has distanced itself from him.

“Even an international broadcaster like CNN was misled by fake news and disinformation. But CNN has itself to blame for relying on unauthenticated videos, which it took from social media. Now, CNN is seeking to save face by trying to clarify its report, which was not only inaccurate but failed the simple test of balance and fairness. The attempt to walk back its earlier report has justifiably attracted the anger of Nigerians.

“As you all know, the Federal Government has written a letter to CNN asking it to use its own internal mechanism to probe its so-called investigative report on the Lekki Toll Gate incident. We have received an acknowledgement of our letter, saying the letter has been referred to CNN’s Editorial Team. We await the outcome of their probe. But CNN has egg on its face for airing an ”exclusive investigation” that is hinged on nothing but fake news”, he added.

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