The Coalition of CSOs on Human Rights and Good Governance has released a preliminary report on the recent attacks by Boko Haram on military posts in Borno State.
The coalition, however, faulted the use of manipulated videos and still images to depict the attack on the troops by the insurgents.
According to a report released by the human rights groups on Wednesday, some political players used the attack as part of their campaign for the 2019 general elections, which poses the risk of validating the crimes Boko Haram sect.
Maxwell Gowon, Executive Director of the coalition, said the materials released online were mostly captured from Kannywood movie scene.
Gowon, therefore, called on the Nigerian government to carry out a comprehensive review of the activities of correspondents of foreign media platforms to ascertain the extent to which they are working with terrorists and some local actors to discredit the Nigerian military and its efforts.
The report reads in full:
The Nigerian Army confirmed that Boko Haram insurgents on November 18, 2018 attacked its 157 Battalion in Metele village in Guzamala Local Government Area of Borno State. The casualty figure from the attack remains in contention as Boko Haram propaganda has been unwittingly shared and promoted by websites and members of the public, causing distortion in the reckoning of the number of the dead and wounded.
There were also attacks in Gajiram and Mainok, both in Borno state.
Media reports of the attacks, with particular emphasis on the casualty figure, were monitored for comparative value. The video released by the Boko Haram and the various versions published, as well as screen grabs and still photos published and shared on social media were analysed.
The comment sections of some of the sites that reported the attacks or published the aforementioned multimedia content were reviewed (as posted at the time of compiling this report).
The main video (or collection, since some site published split versions) was shot to project Boko Haram as strong while at the same time aimed at causing distress and terror to Nigerians. However, vegetation in the clip remain green, which is not consistent with the start of the harmattan/dry season when the attack happened – the grass should have matured to the point beginning to dry up on account of almost bordering the desert.
Other unrelated footages of terror attacks were published by some platforms that possibly do not have the necessary skills for video authentication and verification. Unrelated gory pictures were similarly misappropriated in reporting the incidents.
In a few instances, stills from a Kannywood movie of an actor-soldier weeping over a fallen colleague-actor were serially shared as Nigerian soldiers mourning after the attack.
Some political players used the attack as political prop as part of their campaign for the 2019 General Elections, which poses the risk of validating the crimes Boko Haram is committing while encouraging them to commit more atrocities since they are being incentivised to see themselves as having a participatory audience.
International news networks and organizations have cashed in on the attack reiterate their long held stereotype to cast aspersion on the war against terrorism while meetings of the Service Chiefs to brief the Commander-in-Chief have been interpreted as censure of these high ranking military officials. This raised the concern of what relationship exists between these foreign media and the terrorists.
The foreign media have shifted from referring to the terrorists as Boko Haram to using the term “Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA)” a clear departure from their hesitation to acknowledge the IS/ISIS name in the Middle East.
Similar to 6 above, locals reported that those that carried out the attacks were foreigners and not Nigerians, which reinforces earlier expressed views of indigenous conflict monitoring and peacebuilding groups that had earlier argued that the initial Boko Haram has been degraded and eventually defeated by the Nigerian Army.
Well-meaning Nigerians should condemn the use of fake videos and photos that play on the psyche of Nigerians. The condemnation should extend to warning those that do this to desist from further terrorising Nigerians by helping Boko Haram to promote its act of terror.
The federal government should carry out a comprehensive review of the activities of correspondents of foreign media platforms to ascertain the extent to which they are working with terrorists and some local actors to discredit the Nigerian military and its efforts. The review should benchmark the conduct of these correspondents with the prevailing legislation and practice in their countries of origin and those of the countries where their organizations have their international headquarters.
The extant anti-terrorism legislation in the country should be activated to see the possibility of making the promoters of fake news to account for their actions.
In the light of the accounts by the local population and the transition of foreign media into adopting ISWA as opposed to Boko Haram, Nigerian authorities should review its treatment of the terrorists as Boko Haram members (that the record have shown to have been defeated) and see what international intervention can be brought in since the Islamic State is not a creation of Nigerian factors.
The Nigerian military should organize a refresher clinic on reporting terrorism for bloggers with a view to highlighting the imperatives of video and photo authentication.
The federal government should engage the social media and internet giants (Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and others) on the need to accord Nigeria the same level of respect they show countries in Europe and North America by not condoning terrorist propaganda on their DP.
Akpabio vows to crush Emmanuel
Godswill Akpabio, the former governor of Akwa Ibom State on Sunday vowed to crush the incumbent governor in the 2019 elections. He stated that he brought Emmanuel Udom from Lagos and installed him as Governor of the state.
Akpabio further disclosed that Emmanuel Udom never had a membership card of any political party neither had he contested for any election on his own, before he (Akpabio) picked him up from Lagos and made him Governor.
Daily Post reported that the former Senate Minority Leader who said the All Progressives Congress, APC, would record a landslide victory in the general elections in the State, added;
“I was shocked that Emmanuel whom I brought from Lagos and installed as a Governor even though he was not a member of the party on whose platform he stood election and become Governor, could call a world press conference to insult me.
He said, ‘’the electorate in the state would reciprocate the kind gesture of Mr President Buhari by voting massively for him and all candidates of the APC in the state.’’
Akpabio who took a swipe at Governor Emmanuel over what he described as hypocritical campaign slogan tagged “only God”, said God cannot be mocked, noting that;
“Only God could have made it possible to make someone who was never a party member to become a governor.
“Only God could have made somebody who has never had a party card or know what is called ward to become a governor.
“Only God could have made someone who could not have stood election on his own even as a Councilor and win to be brought from somewhere and made Governor.
”Only God could have made a man who has never helped anyone to become anything to become governor.”
Buhari to meet APC NWC
President Muhammadu Buhari may meet All Progressives Congress (APC) National Chairman Adams Oshiomhole and members of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) this week over the campaign for next year’s poll.
The meeting may also review reconciliation efforts to pacify aggrieved members.
The President has banned public officers and agencies from contributing to his campaign.
There are indications, however, that most leaders prefer the beginning of marathon rallies from January.
Other support groups can, however, engage in various campaigns nationwide.
The NWC wrote President Buhari before his trip to Poland for an audience to firm up campaign modalities.
A presidency source said: “Mr President will soon kick off his campaign after consultations with the party. The NWC actually wrote to seek an audience with him on some issues.
“These issues are campaign modalities, determining the kick-off date, outcome of the reconciliation efforts and how to ensure victory at the poll. Do not forget that the party gave the six reconciliation panels a two-week deadline to complete their assignment.
“The President promised to meet with the NWC after his trip to Poland. So, the session may hold this week.”
Responding to a question, the source added: “ Buhari does not want public funds diverted to his campaign. He has warned public officers, ministries, departments and agencies against contributing to his campaign.
“ The President is determined to end the practice of diverting funds meant for projects to the campaign. Certainly, the 2019 poll will be based on character and the achievements of this administration.
“Government officers and heads of agencies who plan to fiddle with public funds for the campaign will have themselves to blame.”
Most APC leaders prefer January for campaign shuttles in order not to disrupt the Christmas session.
Some leaders also advised the President to lay the 2019 Budget before embarking on the campaign.
Donald trump nominates Heather Nauert as UN envoy
The President of the United States,Donald Trump has announced that the spokeswoman for the State Department and former Fox TV news anchor Heather Nauert Friday will be the new ambassador to the United Nations.
Trump told reporters that Nauert, who is going to be Nikki Haley’s sucessor, had done well at the State Department by all,” Trump said.
He further added that Nauert through her hard work and diligence has proved beyond doubt that she is worthy of the office.Haley,the incumbent ambassador announced who had also served as the governor of South Carolina has decided to step down to pursue her political dreams.
Nauert — a former anchor of “Fox and Friends,” among the television-loving Trump’s favorite shows — is the spokeswoman of the State Department despite the fact that she lacks foreign policy experience.
Unlike her predecessor , Nauert is not expected to have cabinet status,which means that foreign policy decisions will remain firmly with Trump’s hawkish national security advisor John Bolton, and Nauert’s current boss, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
This recommendation would have to go through the senate and it is likely to come to fruition and gain support since the republicans enjoy majority in the house.
Israel, a very close ally has shown their support for the new change, they hope to continue to enjoy the support of the United States in the UN Security Council.
“Ms. Nauert has stood by the State of Israel in her previous positions, and I have no doubt that the cooperation between our two countries will continue to strengthen as ambassador to the UN,” Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, said in a statement.
Haley, in what could be a final diplomatic push, on Thursday failed in a bid for the UN General Assembly to condemn the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas for firing rockets at Israel.
But for the United States, the vote also succeeded in reaffirming its stance that the United Nations is biased against Israel.
Court sacks APC exco
The Anambra State Executive Committee (SEC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC), led by Emeka Ibe, has been sacked by a Federal High Court. But in a statement, yesterday in Awka, the state capital, by the State Publicity Secretary, Okelo Madukaife, the party said there was no cause for alarm.
The sack followed a suit filed by one of the state chairmanship contestants in the party’s congress in May, Mr Onyi Uzochukwu.
The plaintiff said Ibe was not properly nominated during the Congress.
He prayed the court to nullify the Congress and call for a fresh one.
Delivering judgment yesterday, Justice I. B. Gafai nullified the congress and ordered for a fresh one.
But the party said the court judgment had not been served on any of the sacked persons.
The statement said: “Our attention has been drawn to reports in some sections of the media to the effect that the Anambra State Executive of APC has been dissolved by a Federal High Court sitting in Awka.
“Our State Executive has not been served with any court process in any High Court matter relating to any subject around our mandate duly conferred on May 19…
“However, given our status as a party of the rule of law and due process, we shall, if and when we are served with such a process and judgment, study it properly with a view to doing the needful on it, within the hierarchy of laws and courts in Nigeria.
“For now, there is no shaking, as we remain in our duty post with three years and a half to complete our tenure.
“In the interim, our Executive remain intact, properly constituted and within the due discharge of its duties in our great party.”
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