A University lecturer at the Kwararafa University, Dr Uzah Thomas, has observed the prevailing security situation in Northeast Nigeria and what has been reported in the media and concluded that efforts of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration and that of the military in dealing with security situation in the region is grossly underreported.
Dr.Thomas who is also the head of Mass Communication Department of the University, said the percentage of progress by the Nigerian military in the fight against terrorism, insurgency and banditry far exceeds what the public has been made aware of.
“What I’ve seen has opened my eyes to so many things and I must say that President Buhari has lived up to his promise of tackling the security situation in the Northeast,” said Dr.Thomas who is on a tour of the Northeast east organized by an international NGO with some local CSOs to ascertain the return of peace to Northeast Nigeria.
He said, “Before embarking on this tour, I am one of those who have expressed reservations about any claim to victory by our troops.
“This is because the reports and comments on both the mainstream and social media on the fight against terrorism and banditry, have not been sufficient to convince me that the progress is being made.”
He said the under reportage could be as a result of two things: “either the military has not been blowing its horns enough or the press has refused to do the needful by putting the right and sufficient information across to the general public.”
Dr. Thomas said, either way, the low-level media coverage is not fair to the military which have given everything including their lives to secure and defend the country.
“These are men and officers who have given up everything; their comfort, families and even lives to be at the battlefield, yet we have not shown appreciation by projecting the right image of what they are doing at the battlefield,” he said.
The University Don said going by what he has seen in the tour of the Northeast, media houses should have in addition to on the spot reports, written copious editorials and commentaries to commend the military.
He said in saner climes, apart from reporting what happens at the battlefield, media houses make it a point of duty to support patriotic causes and actions by adopting editorial policies that promote their troops.
Dr. Uzah said he expects no less from the Nigerian press who are aware of the level of destruction by the Boko Haram in the Northeast before they were defeated by the Nigerian military.
He said the fact that no less than 20 number of local governments across three states of the federation have been recaptured by the military should have inspired copious verses eulogising the military.
He added that from the point of view of a mass communication expert, it would appear that the terrorists are faring better in the media with their cheoa lies and propaganda.
“Almost every day you hear that Shekau has either done this or that or that he has released a video clip on YouTube either claiming victory or threatening people.
“But reports about military conquests are done without follow-ups and accompanying features and editorials that would put the stories in their right perspectives.
“This is why many are of the opinion that not much has been achieved by the military despite the huge success recorded in the regard,” he said.
Dr. Uzah said he can confirm from the tour that peace has returned to most parts of the Northeast and that majority of the communities hitherto living under the threat of terrorists are now living in peace.
The Don pleaded with pressmen and online journalists to shed more light on the President’s achievements in the six states in the Northeast.
“I encourage to embark on similar tours to see things for themselves and confirm how roads, markets, worship centres and schools have been reopened,” he stated.
He said despite pockets of attacks on soft targets in some parts of Borno State, there are overwhelming evidence that President Buhari has done tremendously well in securing the Northeast.
Dr. Thomas said if the people of the Northeast want the military to consolidate on its feat so far, they also need to contribute.
He said, “Boko Haram will be a thing of the past if the stakeholders in that area avail themselves of the strategies in other areas.
“These include cooperating with the military and giving the necessary information as well as encouraging the political leaders to engage the youths in productive ventures.”
He was full of commendation to the NGOs for initiating the tour saying they have set an agenda for the media.