A prominent Nigerian is using his online medium to mislead the general public on the true situation of things concerning the war against terrorism and banditry in some parts of Northern Nigeria.
The revelation came to the fore following tabs kept on his stories by some interested readers of the online medium, who said they later realised that the interest of prominent Nigerian is not necessarily information dissemination but to help his ambition of getting back into the reckoning as PR consultant on security matters.
The prominent Nigerian had in the past acted as a media consultant to the former NSA, Sambo Dasuki, and has not been happy that he has not been given the brief in the current administration hence is doing all he can to pressure the authorities to notice his presence.
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The readers drew our attention to the fact most of the online medium stories were aimed at painting the Nigerian military in a bad light so as to create a negative image of the institution in order to sell a proposal to them that it is only through him and his PR firm that the military can ‘redeem’ its image.
The reader- instigated investigations revealed that it is the drive for negative stories about the military that informs the online medium penchant to usually be the first to publish stories that are negative to the military even when the medium is not known to have reporters in the places it claims the incidence happened.
One of the readers said, “What made me wary of his reports is that they are always filled with innuendos and do not say anything beyond the usually misleading headlines.
“When I did further checks, I now realised that even national dailies that have correspondents in all the states of the federation do not claim the ubiquity of this prominent Nigerian and I began to ask questions.
“It was then that I realised that many of the stories said to be at the theatres of operation were merely planted in Abuja to mislead the public.”
Another reader in Kano said, “I also observed that while they’re doing PR stories for other organisations when it comes to the military they’re different.
“Initially I was believing them until I noticed how they distorted a particular incident I got first-hand information about.”
Another reader who says he should be identified with the initials AK, also said PR Nigeria has not been fair to the military.
He said, “going through their stories, you cannot help but notice strong bias against the military.”
Further checks by our correspondents revealed that the allegations are true.
When the military recorded a major victory against bandits in the Northwest last week, it issued a statement announcing how troops of the Nigerian Army Super Camp 4 Faskari, deployed for Operation Sahel Sanity, on 6th July 2020, received a distress call on the invasion of armed bandits at Yar Gamji village in Batsari Local Government Area of Katsina State and the gallant troops who were just inducted into the operation responded swiftly to the call.
“They engaged the criminals, thereby neutralized 46 bandits in the encounter, while others escaped with gunshots,” the military said.
But a few days later, this only medium was one of the first to attempt to disparage the military for reporting what it witnessed first hand at the battlefield saying the Military’s Claim of Killing 46 bandits is not true and quoted and the unknown group that said the bandits massacred 18 Katsina villagers unchallenged in that encounter.
The Online medium was also quick to report through a third party that police rescued soldiers from Boko Haram after an attack in Borno a few days later.
It said, “The Nigeria Police Counter-terrorism operatives have rescued two soldiers who were earlier abducted by Boko Haram fighters in Borno State.
“We gathered that the terrorists had killed some security personnel and abducted others after an attack on soldiers on a patrol.
“Counter-Terrorism Unit of the Nigeria Police on pin down point (operation), at the area went after the terrorists. After a gun battle recovered one gun-truck, rifles and rescued two soldiers.”
More revealing is the purported interview with the district head of Batsari in Katsina state, Alhaji Mohammed Muazu where the district head is purported to have made some disparaging remarks about the military and their efforts to rid the Northwest of banditry which turned out to be a hoax.
While other papers quoted the district head as saying positive things about the military, this online medium only concocted a version that was in line with its agenda to say negative things about the military.
The Punch Online, for instance, quoted the District Head as saying when asked about security efforts in his district that, “As I said earlier, it was the Special Forces that helped us drive away from the bandits who killed our farmers on Monday. We know the government is trying its best but we shall always appeal to them to do more.”
Readers of this online medium were unanimous in advising the prominent Nigerian to tread with caution and not allow his ambition to push him to be used by unpatriotic elements.