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REUTERS’ MERCENARY JOURNALISM………Efforts by Reuters to Blackmail the Nigerian Military Through Mercenary Journalism Fails
REUTERS’ MERCENARY JOURNALISM………Efforts by Reuters to Blackmail the Nigerian Military Through Mercenary Journalism Fails
Sadly, Reuters, an international news agency, now part of Thomson Reuters, wrote that it was working on a series of stories about purported actions of the Nigerian military during the government’s 13-year war against Islamist insurgents in the country’s North East. To them, they were committed to producing an accurate, fair and complete report hence, their request to arrange a time to discuss before their reporting. The supposed stories were purported to focus on 2 specific areas: First, supposed military-run programme of forced abortions performed on women and girls who were held captive and impregnated by Islamist militants and second, a supposed killing of children by the military as part of counterinsurgency operations.
The Reuters report was to also allege that, since 2013, Nigeria’s military had run a secret, systematic and illegal abortion programme in the country’s North East terminating at least 12,000 pregnancies among women and girls. That, many children were shot, poisoned, suffocated or run down by vehicles in army-led actions. Furthermore, the report was to allege that soldiers selected babies and toddlers for killing after rescuing them and their mothers from Islamist militants, amongst other weighty concocted allegations. The key motive for supposedly carrying out the abortions was allegedly the notion that the children of Islamist militants, because of the blood in their veins, would one day follow in their father’s footsteps and take up arm against the Nigerian Government and society.
Hmmm! Wickedness really runs in the veins of some people and it surely runs deep in the veins of the Reuters team that concocted such evil for interrogation. The fictitious series of stories actually constitute a body of insults on the Nigerian peoples and culture for, no people or culture in Nigeria practices such evil as dreamt up by the Reuters team. Irrespective of the security challenges we face as a nation, Nigerian peoples and cultures still cherish life. Hence, Nigerian military personnel have been raised, bred and further trained to protect lives, even at their own risk especially, when it concerns the lives of children, women and the elderly. This much is reflected in Standing Operating Procedures (SOPs), Concepts of Operations, Rules of Engagements (ROEs) and other documents that guide military operations. Hence, nowhere has the Nigerian military operated (Congo, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Rwanda, Yugoslavia, [Darfur] Sudan, Gambia and Guinea Bissau, amongst others) that, there has been any trace or allegation of infanticide. The Nigerian military will not therefore, contemplate such evil of running a systematic and illegal abortion programme anywhere and anytime, and surely not on our own soil. The Nigerian military will not also deliberately plan to target children during its counterinsurgency operations or other operations, both within and outside Nigeria.
The Reuters team must have been schooled in, and have now become proponents of scorched-earth and inhuman policies employed by colonialists during the colonial era and during the battles for independence in Indo-China, Malaysia, Algeria and other places. Villages and crops were burnt. Children, women, elderly, the innocent were killed in systematic and inhuman programmes. Nigerians, and by extension Nigerian military, are not made in such wicked mould, and the Reuters team cannot appropriate the evil of infanticide to the Armed Forces of Nigeria and the Nigerian peoples.
But, let’s interrogate the issues. It took Reuters 13 solid years to craft an allegation of infanticide against the Nigerian military and the Nigerian nation. This shows that a news agency as ‘renown’ as Reuters is itself complicit for failing in its mandate to draw attention, to inform the publics about supposed occurrences that offend not only the laws of armed conflict but also international humanitarian law.
Let us analyze the period from July 2021 till November 2022. A total of 82,064 Boko Haram fighters with members of their families have surrendered to troops of Op HADIN KAI. Out of this number, 16,553 were active male fighters, 24,446 were women while 41,065 were children. The Borno State Government is camping and accommodating them family-by-family, as per households, without having to separate the children from their parents. In the same camp are thousands of pregnant women and nursing mothers. A total of 262 babies were born within a period of 4 months (94 in July, 98 in August, 60 in September and 11 in October 2022). This figure comprises 150 female and 112 male children. The children were neither aborted nor yanked from their mothers and killed, as may have been the joy of Reuters.
Let us now spotlight the rescued Chibok girls who were kidnapped from their school by Boko Haram Terrorists in 2014. A total of 11 of the Chibok girls were rescued this year 2022. Hauwa Joseph with her child, Mary Dauda with her child, and Ruth Bitrus were rescued in June 2022. Troops also rescued Kauna Luka with her child and Hanatu Musa with her 2 children in July 2022. In the same vein, Aisha Grema with her 4 year-old child and Falmata Lawal were rescued in August 2022. Furthermore, Asabe Ali with her child, Jinkai Yama with her 3 children, Yana Pogu with her 4 children and Rejoice Senki with her 2 children were rescued in September and November this year. The names of the rescued girls are in Serials 18, 46, 41, 38, 7, 11, 3, 12, 20, 19 and 70 respectively (in the order of rescue) in the list of the abducted Chibok School girls. The rescued girls were handed over to the Borno State government after their rescue.
A visit to the Rehabilitation Centre accommodating the Chibok girls on 29 November 2022 revealed that, there were 2 other Chibok girls (with their children) recued earlier, making the number of the Chibok girls in the Centre to be 13. Other residents in the facility were children who were rescued by troops unaccompanied (by any adult) or who separated from their parents/relatives due to fog of war. The welfare of the Chibok girls with their children and the unaccompanied children, is a major priority of the Borno State Government. UNICEF is assisting the Centre in tracing the relatives of the Chibok girls as well as those of the unaccompanied/separated children to facilitate reintegration with their communities. If there was any evil, illegal programme to systematically kill the children of Boko Haram terrorists, then the children that the terrorists begat through the Chibok girls would have been prime targets.
The Joint Investigation Centre (JIC) is where captured terrorists (men and women) are being processed, to determine their level of complicity in the heinous crimes committed by the Boko Haram Terrorist group. There were 1,952 persons in the facility, which included 23 women with 11 children who remain attached to their mothers as at 30 November 2022. There is also a medical facility being run by the Centre in collaboration with medical staff of ICRC. The welfare of all the occupants at the JIC is thus highly prioritised, including basic education for the children, tailoring and hat-making skills acquisition for the adults as well as provision of recreational and sporting facilities for all the occupants.
Since July 2021 when the Boko Haram terrorists started surrendering with their families in droves, a community-based reintegration process is evolving, involving local traditional leaderships, town councils and family members. The process is made easier due to the fact that most of the surrendered terrorists were actually conscripted from their villages by the core terrorists, whose ranks have been degraded by more than 95 percent. Accordingly, a total of 4,933 recued civilians/surrendered persons (including 1,977 children, 1,423 women and 1,533 men) have been reintegrated with their communities from the camp housing the Chibok girls alone. The children were not taken from their parents and killed; unaccompanied ones were not also rounded up and killed.
A crucial point to note is the fact that, more than 245 United Nations agencies, International NGOs and local NGOs operate in the North East, who are active in the IDP camps and other concentrations of vulnerable peoples. They provide food, medical care and other services in collaboration with the Nigerian and Borno State Governments. But the wickedness of the Reuters team members must have blinded them, shutting them off from the humanitarian realities in the North East of Nigeria. UNICEF, Girl Child Concern, International Medical Corps, Save the Children International, Girl Effect, Concern For Women and Children Development Foundation, International Federation of Women Lawyers, Women and Children’s Right and Peace Building Awareness Initiative, Medicin Sans Frontiers (France, Switzerland, Belgium and Spain) as well as Centre for Protection of Women and Girls are some of the humanitarian organizations operating in the North East. These have direct responsibilities for the welfare of children and/or women in the crisis area. Could the humanitarian community operating in the North East of Nigeria be equally complicit in condoning or supporting infanticide as thought of by Reuters? Could the United Nations Secretary General have commended troops of OP HADIN KAI when he visited Maiduguri recently? Or, is he, himself also complicit for failure to address an organized infanticide in the North East, which exists only in the warped, wicked imagination of the Reuters team?
The history of the Nigerian military dates back to 1863, especially with respect to the Nigerian Army that conducts land operations either as a single Service or in joint operations with other Services or security agencies. So, what metamorphosed into the Nigerian military actually passed through several processes and experiences through the First and Second World Wars as well as a Nigerian Civil War. Contingents of the Nigerian military have also taken part in several UN or regional peace keeping or peace enforcement missions abroad, with honours as mentioned in previous paragraphs. To participate in such missions, Pre-Induction Training and In-Theatre Training are usually carried out vigorously. The protection of civilians especially women, children and the elderly, always formed a major plank of such training sessions.
Military training institutions in Nigeria also focus extensively on Laws of Armed Combat and International Humanitarian Law. Aside all these, Nigerians and the Nigerian military are lovers of children. Nigerian military personnel have thus constantly denied themselves ration, supplies, transport and medicine in order to cater for rescued civilians especially children, women and the elderly. The Nigerian military have grown in leaps and bounds in experience and stature in humanizing operations, even in the most confused and intense operational environment. Hence, it offends the pedigree of the Nigerian military, it offends the Nigerian culture, and it offends honour for Reuters to postulate that the Nigerian military had routinely carried out both small-scale and mass killings of children in its counter-insurgency/counter-terrorism efforts in the North-East of Nigeria.
The Reuters condemnable series of stories can only have arisen from a mentality of “media or Press-bullying”. Reuters is a media company with world-wide reach that sells news to print, electronic and online media outlets. The so-called News Editor for Sub-Saharan Africa, Alexandra Zavis, remains in South Africa and concoct evil lies to insult Nigerian peoples and cultures with allegations of infanticide purportedly being sponsored and carried out by the military and civilian leaderships in North East of Nigeria.
The Reuters’ series of stories are akin to telling the world that Nigerians still live on top of trees. It now seems that the new stock in trade for Reuters is, ‘mining’ and selling lies to demonize Nigerian military, Nigerian institutions and Nigerian leaderships. This new vocation of Reuters is worse than illegal arms trade, worse than hard-drug trafficking, and actually worse than terrorism. The so-called Reuters’ News Editor for Sub-Saharan Africa, Alexandra Zavis, should better retrace her steps, before the founder, Paul Julius Reuter, starts to regret the demonic journalism being practiced by the journalists that he left behind!
Director Defence Information
2 December 2022
CSOs raises alarm over plot by foreign media to demonise Nigerian Army
CSOs raises alarm over plot by foreign media to demonise Nigerian Army
Coalition of Civil Society organizations led by Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has raised alarm over an alleged plot by some foreign media to rubbish the image of the Nigerian Army in its fight against terrorists in the North-East of the country.
HURIWA National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, at a press briefing on Friday in Abuja, said coalition of civil society organisations drawn from various parts of the country is fully aware of the alleged plans by some western media to demonise the Nigerian Army by churning out fake reports that may dampened efforts to root out Boko Haram and other terrorists from Nigeria.
His words : “We want to first and foremost let you know that this briefing session is completely our independent initiative in our capacity as a coalition of Nigerian civil society organizations who have no political affiliations but are passionate about achieving just and equitable development in our dear country.
As you all may be aware, our coalition is a team of professionals who have come together to advance the single agenda of building a formidable and economically strong united Nigeria.
As you all are aware, Boko Haram and ISIS-West Africa attacks against government and security forces and civilians in Northeast, Nigeria have resulted in deaths, injuries, abductions, and the capture and destruction of property.
Worrisome is that the Boko Haram attacks did not discriminate between civilians and government officials, whereas ISIS-WA generally, but not always, focused attacks on government and security forces.
The implementation of the Nigerian military’s “super camp” strategy, which began in 2019, was designed to stem losses when terrorists overran forward-operating bases. As a defensive military strategy, the decision to consolidate the posture into super camps is working.
Sadly, some foreign media elements, fanning the embers of hatred against the Nigerian Army are peddling false or exaggerated accusations supposedly to weaken the Nigerian Army and help arms supplies to sell more weapons to terrorists.
Gentlemen of the Press, we have privileged information that Reuters; a foreign media platform is planning a sinister story on the Nigerian war on terror.
They want to raise allegations of secret abortion clinics in North East whereby over 200 kids born through the rape of captured women by Boko haram commanders were aborted without the permission of the Women who were raped.
Also, they are accusing the military of decimating children of Boko haram fighters and are saying they will file a petition to the ICC.They accuse the Nigerian Army of running these abortion clinics and mass burials of kids killed deliberately by the Army but gave no concrete evidence of where those mass graves are located
We, the Coalition of Civil Society organizations are very concerned about Reuters as a foreign media plotting to circulate the story which will undermine Nigeria’s national security.
Gentlemen recall that during the missile incident that killed two people in Polish territory on Tuesday, November 15th, 2022, Reuter quickly sent out an unverified story accusing Russia of being responsible. However, it turned out that they were missiles fired by Ukraine to stop Russian bombs.
The report nearly made NATO begin a World War against Russia, as the incident in Poland; a NATO country prompted ambassadors from the US-led military alliance to hold an emergency meeting in Brussels.
Reuters reportedly later fired the reporter when NATO scientists confirmed it was a Ukrainian bomb, not a Russian. This is worrisome as the trend to publish stories without thinking of their impact is still what the media outfit is planning to do.
Many foreign media have shifted to a point where they want to publish stories that sell, looking at how much they will get out of the story without minding more about who is affected or who is not affected. That is why you find many of them sensationalize issues instead of reporting for the good.
As uncomfortable as this connection may seem, we cannot separate the two. We are looking at the role of the media, the power of its message, and the impact of an information vacuum.
There is a considerable and growing body of literature on the Rwanda genocide in general and the role of the media in particular.
The use of propaganda leaflets and radio messages was a key tool in procuring the compliance of Hutus to participate in the massacres, including those initially against the killings.
Those Hutus who fled Rwanda after the genocide were often pushed into doing so by fear-filled propaganda, which was arguably aimed at increasing the number of refugees, who would then be seen as victims by the international community.
Strikingly, whilst Burundi’s Hutu President was also killed, the Burundi media worked with the UN and domestic officials to broadcast a message of calm, averting atrocities on this occasion. This emphasizes propaganda’s influence in spurring the Rwandan genocide.
Propaganda alluded to atrocities committed by the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) which in turn contributed to notions that atrocities were the result of renewed warfare, ethnic tensions, or simply ‘chaos’.
Indeed, French media portrayed the events as a “two-way genocide” and French troops were led to believe Hutus were victims of the conflict, just as Reuters is trying to portray the terrorists as victims rather than villains.
The purpose of looking back at the media’s role in the Rwanda events is not just to remember. Foreign media still have some learning to do on this subject.
Examining the way journalists and news organizations conducted themselves in 1994 is not just a historical exercise.
Sadly, the international community does not yet seem to have fully discerned or absorbed the lessons from Rwanda.
The Nigerian Army deserves the gratitude and commendation of the nation and the international society, not this sinister plot by Reuters to distract and weaken efforts in the fight against terrorism.
Again, the sponsors of this campaign of falsehood and calumny must not be allowed to achieve their evil plans. If we sit back and fold our arms whilst this evil is allowed to fester, then we will be shooting ourselves in the foot destroying the achievements the Nigerian Army has made so far against terrorism.
Gentlemen of the media, we are by this statement calling on the Nigerian Government to warn against foreign media stoking embers of hatred against the Nigerian Army. Reuters is on the vanguard of destroying the credibility of the Nigerian Army with unsubstantiated propaganda, which is enough to undermine our national security.
The Media were used in Rwanda to spread hatred, dehumanize people, and even guide the genocidaires toward their victims. The tension between the two groups existed for decades, but what was a protracted social conflict morphed quickly into a genocide with significant assistance from the media.
Three journalists have even been found guilty of genocide, incitement to genocide, conspiracy, and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.
We must find a way to respond to such abuses of power without violating the principles of freedom, which are an indispensable cornerstone of democracy.
The lessons for international society are twofold. Whilst a free press is a sine qua none to hold those in power accountable and represents the very foundation free societies rest upon, it needs to be emphasized that freedom comes with responsibility.
The abuse of the freedom of speech to create division through hate speech, and unsubstantiated accusations that in turn lead to large-scale violence is an indicator of an arising conflict.
The sponsors of this campaign of calumny against the Nigerian Army need to be identified and acted upon. We, therefore, call on international society to increased pressure in halting such propaganda.
Beyond this, upon assumption of office, Buratai and his Principal Officers monitored issues on allegation of human rights abuses against troops deployed for operations across the country in line with the President and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces’ mandate in the fight against terrorism. Again, through the establishment of Human Rights Desk Offices in the Army headquarters and across the Nigerian army divisions, the Army could address petitions and other different claims against it. This move, borne out of the increasing interest of the local and international human rights bodies on what Nigerian Army is doing in the North-East and and other parts of the country, to many human right analysts, marked a departure from the old order when the Military was on the defensive whenever allegations of human rights violations were leveled against it.
Incidentally, while commissioning the human rights office at the Headquarters of 7 Division Nigerian Army in Maiduguri, Buratai noted that the establishment of the desk office was borne out of the increasing interest of local and international rights bodies on what the army is doing in the North-East and other parts of Nigeria. His words: “The Nigerian Army is trying to open up the system and close the gap with the civil populace, human rights bodies and Civil Society Organizations; the nature of inquiries, commentaries, and claims from these institutions requires a professional and specialized response by the Nigerian Army. What we are witnessing today has been facilitated by the Nigerian Bar Association and National
National Human Rights Commission”, he added.
The Military–Media–Public Awareness Programme noted at an event, with CLEEN foundation at Jabi Motor Park, Abuja, that “the army is passionate about the rights of civilians and had measures in place to ensure that rights of civilians are protected. These measures included the opening of Free Toll Line 193, designated Toll-Free Call Centre and Public Complaints Rapid Response Unit. The offices and the toll line 193 are opened to members of the public whose rights have been infringed upon; they can always walk in to the office and lodge their complaints. So, the Army is doing its best to ensure that they respect the rights of the civilians. We assure them that once they come to us they protected their rights and we do our best to serve them better”.
Perhaps, those still unconvinced of the exceptional transformational measures contrived in repositioning to the Nigerian Army for effective counter-insurgency, and the productivity of maintaining military–Civil relationship practices may be poor adherents of history or have a faulty retentive memory. Not too long ago, as part of the activities marking the 2020 Nigerian Army Day Celebration together with its Cooperate Social Responsibility, Troops of the 7 Division Maiduguri conducted sanitation exercise along Baga road market, Maiduguri town in Borno State, while the newly built Camp Delta Force Quick Reaction Base was commissioned to enhance quick response of troops to terror activities in the communities.
Unequivocally, the allegations of human rights abuses against the Nigerian Army, particularly in the conduct of counterinsurgency operation where issues of great concern to TY Buratai, who ensured that they took various actions to guarantee that rights violations by Nigerian Army personnel are fully curtailed. Instructively, the three key concepts prevalent in the ex-COAS; Lt Gen TY Buratai’s vision for the Nigerian Army where Professionalism, Responsiveness and Working within the ambit of the Constitution of Nigeria, signifying an excellent Civil–Military Relations anchored on adherence to the Rule of Law and Respect for Human Rights are necessary
Therefore, we urge the current CHIEF OF ARMY STAFF to note that it is important that some of these significant approaches introduced as aforementioned towards improving the consistent dialogues between the Army and the civil society and the then Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai are adopted by the current hierarchies of the armed forces of Nigeria if the military ever hope to win the hearts and minds of the people of Nigeria.”
CONTEMPT: IGP FILES MOTION TO SET ASIDE CONTEMPT PROCEEDINGS, COMMITTAL ORDER
CONTEMPT: IGP FILES MOTION TO SET ASIDE CONTEMPT PROCEEDINGS, COMMITTAL ORDER
Assures Court Order Complied with as Statutorily Empowered
The Inspector-General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba, psc(+), NPM, NEAPS, fdc, CFR, following the committal order issued by the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Tuesday, 29th November 2022, has approached the Court to file a motion to set aside the contempt proceeding and committal order.
In the motion filed before the Federal High Court in the Federal Capital Territory on Thursday, 1st December 2022, the IGP extensively highlighted grounds why the orders should be set aside including noting that he had not been appointed into office as Inspector-General of Police when the case was instituted and the reinstatement order in question granted.
He also affirmed that the contempt proceedings were served via substituted means in November 2018 and January, 2019 respectively, on the then Inspector-General of Police, and not on him as the incumbent.
The IGP in his disposition further noted that even before his assumption of Office, official steps had been taken by his predecessors toward complying with the reinstatement of Patrick C. Okoli, the plaintiff, as ordered by the Court. As noted by him, this was evidenced by an official letter addressed to the Police Service Commission on the approval of the then Inspector General of Police, as far back as 2015, and before the court order of November 29th, 2022, requesting the Commission to issue a reinstatement letter to the plaintiff and also effect his promotion in line with the order of the Court and in the exercise of their statutory authority in that regard. Hence, the grounds for the contempt proceedings ought not to have existed, ab initio.
The IGP reassures Nigerians of his unalloyed commitment and steadfastness in defending the rule of law and respecting judicial authorities and hence, will not wittingly or unwittingly disobey any order validly granted by courts of competent jurisdiction.
CSP OLUMUYIWA ADEJOBI, mnipr, mipra,
Force Public Relations Officer,
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