Nigerians got a call yesterday – support the military’s war against Boko Haram, the terrorist group troubling the Northeast.
The Federal Government launched a campaign in support of the war against Boko Haram and Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
The campaign is to:
- tell Nigerians that Boko Haram has grown beyond homegrown insurgency;
- warn against the publication of doctored videos and pictures to deride troops in the Northeast;
- urge the media to uphold professionalism in reporting the insurgency, seeking official clarification before reporting casualty figures; and to
- boost the morale of Nigerian soldiers who are making the supreme sacrifice.
Information, Culture & Tourism Minister Lai Mohammed, who unveiled the campaign in Abuja, said ISIS has a strong foothold in West Africa – with Nigeria at the forefront of the battle against the group.
He urged Nigerians to support troops in the Northwest.
Mohammed said: “Recall that on January 8, 2019, we announced that we would soon launch a campaign to seek the support of the citizens for our troops, especially in the fight against insurgency. Today marks the fulfillment of that promise as we are here to formally launch the NATIONAL CAMPAIGN IN SUPPORT OF THE MILITARY.
“It is a follow-up to the hugely-successful National Campaign Against Insecurity, which we launched on February 16th, 2016, with the punch line: ‘If you see something, say something’.
“Why are we launching this campaign? Because we believe that the men and women in uniform who are risking all, including making the supreme sacrifice, to keep us safe deserve the support and prayers of all Nigerians, not vilification, insults and other acts that are capable of dampening their morale.”
The minister also said the campaign became necessary because Boko Haram had grown beyond homegrown insurgency.
He added: “And why are we launching the campaign now? Because, as our gallant men and women in uniform clear the remnants of the home-grown insurgency called Boko Haram, they are confronting a fresh crisis, a global insurgency.
“A faction of Boko Haram has aligned with the global terror group, ISIS, to form ISWAP, the Islamic State’s West African Province. In other words, ISIS now has a strong foothold in West Africa – with Nigeria in the forefront of the battle against them.
“With ISIS largely dislodged from Iraq and Syria, there is undoubtedly a flush of fresh fighters and weapons to ISWAP.
“Therefore, our military is fighting a global insurgency, without the kind of global coalition, including the United States that battled ISIS in Syria and Iraq.”
He expressed regrets that doctored videos and pictures were being circulated in order to spite gallant troops in the Northeast.
The minister said: “Those who do not understand the fresh threat facing our nation, nor appreciate the sacrifice of our troops, have now made it their past-time to wage a campaign of disinformation against the military, especially in the social media. Doctored videos and pictures purporting to show massive military casualties are willfully circulated online. Such unpatriotic acts are discouraging and demoralising our troops, and must stop forthwith.
“Let me state that those who engage in this act of disinformation are few, and do not represent the majority of Nigerians who appreciate the patriotism and the sacrifice of our gallant troops. That’s why we are launching this campaign to mobilise the majority of the good people of Nigerians, irrespective of their political, religious or ethnic leanings, to show support for our military.
“It is high time that everybody joined in supporting this global war (against insurgency). It’s not unusual, as a matter of fact it’s usually the practice, that when a country is faced with this kind of challenge, people will sink their differences and work together.”
Mohammed gave insights into the latest campaign, including massive radio, television and social media interventions.
He said: “The National Campaign in Support of the military will be multi-faceted. It will include the production and airing of special jingles on radio and television, social media intervention and advocacy. In fact, the jingles are ready, and will be airing on radio and television starting this week. Also, the materials for newspaper and social media are ready.
“We also want to enlist the support of the media for this campaign. The media should indeed play the lead role in the campaign. We are happy to note that some television stations have already started airing their self-produced Television Commercials (TVCs) in support of the military. We thank them for this and we urge others to join them.”
The minister cautioned the media against reporting casualty figures in the Northeast without official clarification.
“We also want to appeal to the media to show utmost professionalism in reporting the insurgency. They must seek official clarification before reporting casualty figures, and must realize that the military will not release the identities of soldiers who have paid the ultimate price without first notifying their families.
“They must also not reveal national security as well as military plans, since such acts can put our troops in harm’s way,” Mohammed said