Coalition of Civil Society Groups against Terrorism in Nigeria has expressed worries over what it termed the reactionary activities of some media organizations, especially online newsmedium and some self styled Social Media commentators on the activities of the Boko Haram sect.
They promote the recent renewed attacks in the North Eastern part of the Country and denigrate the Nigerian military, particularly the Nigerian Army and it’s leadership in this false representation.
The group in a statement issued on Sunday in Lagos and jointly signed by Comrade Odeyemi Oladimeji and John Atani Esq, Convener and Secretary respectively, expresses dissatisfaction over undue patronage being giving to the Boko Haram, by these online media and bloggers, saying that such publicity emboldens the terrorists and make them extremely proactive in their deadly operations, which has claimed lives of several Nigerians.
The group also demanded for the arrest of a blogger, Ahmad Salkida, a controversial journalist known for having access to the leadership of the insurgent Boko Haram group, accusing him, of using his position as the “Unofficial spokesman of the Boko Haram sect” to distract the war against insurgency, by releasing not only false informations about the recent attack being perpetrated by the Boko Haram, but also exposing vital information regarding military formations and operations, which is increasingly endangering the lives of troops and other security agencies, battling the insurgents, in the Northeastern part of the country.
The group described Salkida as a rumour peddlers, saboteur and blackmailer whose activities are laced with the ulterior motives, aimed at distracting the war against insurgency.
“A close look at the activities of Ahmad Salkida clearly shows that he is always out to tarnish the image of the Federal Government and the Nigerian Military, while also celebrating the isolated cases of Boko Haram attacks on our gallant troops, with the sole aim of emboldening these terrorists, whose major tools have been propaganda and deceit, often dissseminated to the public by Salkida”.
“There is no doubt, that Ahmad Salkida has links to Abubakar Shekau and we call on the Federal Government to invoke the relevant laws of the land, most especially the Terrorist Prevention Act 2011(as amended) in arresting and prosecuting Salkida” the statement said.
‘‘As patriotic Nigerians, we salute the professionalism of majority of practitioners in the media industry today, even though we are deeply worried and wish to ask other media operatives to understand the current situation and its implications not only on our national security, but also on the lives of the teeming millions of our people in the region, and support the Nigerian military, to defeat these insurgents, which the military has been doing their best, to bring to an end. There is no doubt, that overtime, these terrorists have been extremely proactive with the use of information dissemination. This is why we are worried about the type of publicity, they are being given because that is what keeps them going. We are of the view, that by the time these criminal elements are denied such publicity they are enjoying in the media, they will lose strength.”
The group also said Nigerians need to be aware, of how information could be disseminated, taking cognizance of national security interest and the interest of our gallant men and women, fighting day and night, in the war front. While calling on the media practitioners to be patriotic in reporting terrorism, the group also urged the media mostly the online media practitioners to crosscheck their facts before going to the press.