Buhari warns against politicising death of soldiers

*Buratai, Buhari

As army denounces video of Boko Haram killing Nigerian soldiers

President Muhammadu Buhari has cautioned against playing politics with the killing of Nigerian soldiers by Boko Haram renegades in Metele, Borno State.

The president gave the warning on Sunday following reports of Boko HBaram killing of about 118 soldiers Nigerian soldiers and missing of about 153 in the attack on 157 Task Force Battalion in Metele.

The president’s admonition came a day after the military finally confirmed the attack on Friday night five days after the attack on November 18.

The army however said the figure of over 100 losses recorded in the media was untrue.

But it failed to release the actual casualty figures.

Buhari who promised to wipe out the Boko Haram terrorists took to his twitter handle @MBuhari wrote: “We must resist the temptation to play politics with the tragedy of the deaths of our soldiers. They are heroes on the front lines, fighting to make Nigeria a safer place for us all. Rest assured that the circumstances that have led to these deaths will be comprehensively addressed.”

Meanwhile, some Nigerian soldiers have published a video about the abysmally poor state of equipment at their disposal despite the federal government’s approval of $1 billion in April for the purchase of military hardware for the use of the Nigerian Armed Forces in the ongoing war against the Boko Haram terrorists.

Besides, it approved the withdrawal $462 million from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) in April for the procurement of 12 Super Tucano aircraft for the army from the United States.

But in the five-minute video released at the weekend, a soldier, while lamenting that dozens of troops had died in a recent attack, showed the burnt shells of several tanks and vehicles in the Metele base, which was attacked by the Boko Haram on November 18.

“See the weapons they bring here. These are not working. These are outdated vehicles, they are not working. They just keep them here for formality. Imagine, they are killing us every day. The situation is getting worse,” said a soldier in the video clip.

Soldiers were also heard saying that despite huge resources released by the government, the Nigeria military only supplies them with obsolete weapons, “that can’t stand any good fight with Boko Haram.”

Furthermore, they were heard saying in the video that their commanders are using them to “make money” by deploying war tanks that have outlived their usefulness.

Meanwhile, the army headquarters denounced video of soldiers’ killings, purporting to be those of Boko Haram attacks on military bases saying it is fake and spurious.

The army headquarters also threatened to invoke relevant sections of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition & Prevention etc) Act, 2015 against persons suspected of peddling what it described as “fake news,” especially with regard to security operations in the country.

In, in a press release via its verified Twitter handle @HQNigerianArmy on Sunday, the military expressed “dismay,” describing the videos as “spurious.”

In a tweet linking its Facebook page, the Nigerian Army Headquarters tweeted:

“Press statement on spurious dissemination of fake videos purporting attacks on military locations

“The Nigerian Army has continued to observe with great dismay the myriads of photos and video clips being recklessly distributed on various social media platforms by different caliber of persons.

“It is indeed shocking to see how these well doctored propaganda materials from enemies of the State have succeeded in creating fear and unrest in the polity.

“These doctored materials are obviously serving the purposes intended by the terrorists to misinform the populace, spread panic, hatred, religious intolerance and above all, to undermine national security.

“The Nigerian Army wants to categorically state that the videos and images making rounds as the purported attack on Metele base are false and do not in any way portray the reality of the situation on the ground.

“Unfortunately, many do not know that indiscretional posts and comments from a citizen that is supposed to be solidly behind its military in these trying times could have a way of dampening the morale of the troops.

“However, the Nigerian Amy’s resolve in protecting the territorial integrity and sanctity of the Nigerian State would not be undermined by detractors or tacit supporters of the enemies of our beloved country.

“Whilst appreciating the concerns of well-meaning Nigerians who genuinely care for the well-being of its military, the Nigerian Army wants to draw the attention of its detractors to the fact that spreading of fake news is an offense and violates the provisions of Section 24(1) (a), (b) and (2) (a), (b), (c) (i), (ii) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition & Prevention etc) Act, 2015.

“In view of this, please note that the Nigerian Army would henceforth report these infractions and file cases against individuals or groups who deliberately spread fake news that aims to undermine national security, in courts of competent jurisdictions.

“Equally, the Nigerian Army wishes to inform the public of its iReport channels on the Nigerian Army website, Android and iOS platforms via which the public can forward meaningful advice, criticism or observations that would enable the Nigerian Army better serve the good people of Nigeria.

“You are to please note this and kindly disseminate through your various channels.”


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