The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, has again called on the Nigerian media, especially online publications, to be patriotic in their reportage of the Boko Haram activities.
The army chief made the call on Monday in Abuja while speaking to newsmen after declaring open a one-day seminar on “Assessing the Threats of Boko Haram Insurgency in Nigeria’’.
Buratai noted that the online media had misunderstood Nigerian Army in its handling of the war against terrorism in the North-East.
“We call on Nigerians, Nigeria press, especially the online media, to take note that they are Nigerians; they should behave like Nigerians and be patriotic.
“They should take the issue of defence and security as their personal issue, not to criticise, not to malign, not to smear anybody that is making sacrifice.
“Defence and security is issue that should be the concern of everybody, issues of security and defence are not just discussed like political issues.
“It is a serious national security issue that must be discussed with caution, it is must be discussed with high sense of patriotism, with high sense of security, national security and protection of our sovereignty.
“Whatever happens to the military it is the symbol of our sovereignty, so if you ridicule the military, if you ridicule any of the security agencies, you are ridiculing your own country; you are ridiculing your own sovereignty,’’ Buratai said.
According to him, "you must be very cautious in handing any issue that has to do with the army in particular. We are not politicians we are doing our job professionally”.
“This is the understanding we expect every Nigerian to show. Normal administrative matters are not meant for criticism,’’ he said.
The chief of army staff decried a situation where some of the online media celebrated the death of personnel who paid the supreme price to make their country and its people secure.
He added: “We have a lot to do to ensure that the country is safe,’’ he said.
Buratai also emphasised that the fight against insurgency and terrorism required the support of every Nigerian.
Commenting on late Lt-Col. Muhammad Abu-Ali, he described his death as “one too many’’.
Abu-Ali was killed by the terrorists in Mallam Fatori in Northern Borno, on Nov. 4, in their failed attempt to seize the town.
Until his death he was the Commanding Officer, 272 Task Force Battalion, Mallam Fatori.
Earlier, while declaring the seminar open, Buratai said that the armed forces had effectively responded to the threats of Boko Haram terrorists in the North-East, leading to their decimation.
He noted that the threats of the terrorists since 2009 and other violent agitations in other parts of the country had threatened the sovereignty and corporate existence of the nation.
“In the North-East for instance, our forces operating under the Multi National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) and Operation Lafiya Dole have restored normalcy in areas that were previously under the control of the Boko Haram terrorists and are currently conducting mop- up operations to clear isolated remnants of the Boko Haram terrorists in Sambisa forest,’’ he said.
Also speaking, Dr John Pham, the Director of the African Centre, Atlantic Council, USA, said the centre had been following progress made by the Nigerian troops in the campaign against insurgency in the country.
Atlantic Council is a think tank in the field of international affairs, it provides a forum for international political, business, and intellectual leaders.
It manages ten regional centres and functional programmes related to international security and global economic prosperity.
Pham said that it was important for Nigeria, its neighbours and the international community that the terrorists were defeated as their activities had caused untold suffering and a setback to regional integration and economic growth.