The Nigerian Army has challenged Sahara reporters to mention the location where Boko Haram terrorists distributed Ramadan packages and cash in Borno and Yobe as reported by the medium.
The Director, Army Public Relations, Brig.-Gen. Mohammed Yerima, in a statement on Thursday, accused the news medium of helping the terrorists to propagate falsehood.
Yerima said the said report was published by Sahara Reporters on May 11, alleging that Boko Haram/Islamic State West Africa Province had distributed Ramadan welfare packages to some residents of Borno and Yobe states.
He said the article gave a breakdown of the food items distributed including cash which the publisher alleged was meant to entice the locals to join the terrorists’ ranks.
According to him, the article also mentioned the 2019 report of International Crisis Group, which tended to pour encomiums on the terrorists’ recruitment system since breaking away from the Abubakar Shekau’s faction.
“Unfortunately the article did not mention any specific location where the alleged distribution took place.
“The author of this article displayed his/her clear lack of situational awareness by getting designation of the various terrorist groups muddled up.
“In the self-styled amateurish publication, there was no single mention of any community that the said distribution took place, which is indicative of the fact that there was indeed no community or village where such activity took place.
“The writer consciously omitted such an important part knowing that once a name is attached to the publication it would be much easier to unravel the motive behind it, which is simply to mislead the unsuspecting readers,” he said.
Yerima said the army, being a professional organisation decided to look at the article with every seriousness with a view to making intelligence out of it.
He said their analysis established that it was a hurriedly packaged piece of propaganda that was meant to distract the populace away from the recent defeats being suffered by the terrorists.
According to him, it is a notorious fact that the terrorists at various times have made several attempts to make the lives of the residents of these states miserable through the Ramadan season, which were met with overwhelming response from the troops of Operation Hadin Kai.
Army spokesperson said a team of eagle-eyed analysts of Nigerian army went further to critically examine the pictures attached to the publication and discovered that they were simply stage-managed in a typical terrorists-styled propaganda.
According to him, the uncoordinated director of the photo shoot presented the pictures according to his IQ and decided to measure the standard of the Nigerian public from his own personal standing.
He said the author also used two poorly constructed shacks sited in the wilderness in multiple scenes by simply changing the arrangement of items and introducing different faces to make it look like an existing structure.
According to Yerima, the author later posted a truck loaded with bags and a few terrorists on it parked in the middle of nowhere.
“A closer look at the background of all the pictures clearly showed an empty forest with no signs of human habitation or activity except the few terrorists and some children that must have been forcefully taken away from their parents.
“These facts, therefore, met every known style of the terrorists propaganda.
“The million dollar question here is why the choice of Sahara Reporters as the medium to propagate such unfounded piece that failed every test of professional journalism?
“Could it be that the terrorists find the media outfit fertile enough for propagating their devilish stories?
“These are questions that demand answers from the publishers of this piece of disinformation,” he said.
Yerima, however, urged the public to disregard the article, adding that it was nothing but a tissue of lies aimed at misleading them.
He gave the assurance that the Nigerian army would continue to maintain the pressure on the remnants of terrorists hibernating in the forests around the North Eastern borders until they are completely obliterated.