THE greatest threat facing the nation’s war against the Boko Haram and other Islamist insurgents has to do with the unprecedented acts of sabotage that the national assignment is facing. Never at any other time in the history of Nigeria had the army been so bedeviled by internal and external undermining of efforts to rid the country of terrorists and other enemies of her unity and progress.
The sabotage comes in so many forms. It is both within and outside the confines of the armed forces. According to media reports, some military officers with sympathy for the cause of the insurgents sometimes reportedly divulge critical information about the plans of the military to undertake campaigns or even funnel military equipment to their partisans in the enemy camp. This, we learnt, has led to the unceremonious cancellation of such campaigns to avoid putting officers and men in danger of running into ambushes.
One of the greatest forms of the sabotage is misinformation. Many sympathisers of Boko Haram are very eager to approach, mainly, the foreign media to say uncomplimentary things about our armed forces . They create an impression of Boko Haram as an invincible force and Sambisa, their chosen camp, as an impregnable fortress. It is this misinformation and the subsequent avoidable losses in men and military material that give rise to the tales of real or imagined “mutinies” and protests among our men under arms.
The military high command, as well as their supervisory political authorities, must take firm steps to discourage acts of sabotage against our men and women confronting the terrorists. We are fully in support of the assurance by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt General Kenneth Minimah, that the army will henceforth go tough on saboteurs and visit them with the strictest dictates of the law when nabbed and convicted of the crime.
We are also gratified to note that army is on the verge of taking delivery of sophisticated equipment. It will surely boost morale among the troops and spur them to greater effort to flush the terrorists out of Nigeria.
We call on the mass media to redouble their efforts and throw their full support for the armed forces. More efforts should be made to de-emphasise the dissemination of sensational and unsubstantiated information because we may be unwittingly playing into the hands of the terrorists. It is important for media houses to take a closer hold of their online editions and minimise their use by the terrorists and their supporters to achieve their evil purposes.
The war on terror is not for the army, security agencies or the federal government alone. It is a collective effort. We must report suspected saboteurs to the appropriate authorities and keep our communities safe.