The Federal Government has launched a campaign to rally support for the military.
This, according to the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, had become necessary given the rise in the spread of fake videos allegedly portraying the Nigerian military in bad light.
Speaking at the event on Thursday, February 7, 2019, the Minister urged Nigerians to support the military in the fight against Boko Haram which he said have established links with other international terrorist organisations.
''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,'' Minister said.
He said it is particularly important for Nigerians to support the military at a time that it is facing a heightened challenge from global terrorists.
''As our gallant men and women in uniform clear the remnants of the homegrown 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.
''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 mass military casualties are willfully circulated online. Such unpatriotic acts are discouraging and demoralizing our troops, and must stop forthwith,'' Mohammed said.
While appealing to the media to play a lead role in the campaign, he urged journalists covering the military to show utmost professionalism in their reporting, especially by seeking official clarification before reporting casualty figures, and realizing that the military will not release the identities of soldiers who have paid the ultimate price without first notifying their families.
The Minister also urged the media not to reveal national security as well as military plans, saying such acts can put our troops in harm's way.
He, however, said those who engage in the act of disinformation against the military 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 mobilize the majority of the good people of Nigerians, irrespective of their political, religious or ethnic leanings, to show support for our military,'' Mohammed said, adding that: ''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."
He explained that the campaign will be multi-faceted, and will include the production and airing of special jingles on radio and television, social media intervention and advocacy.
The event was attended by the Director of Defence Information, Brig.-Gen. John Agim, Director of Public Relations and information of the Nigerian Air Force, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, Director Army Public Relations, Brig.-Gen. Sani Usman and the Director Information, Nigerian Navy, Commodore Sulaiman Dahun.