The Nigerian Army says the video making the rounds on social media of sodiers allegedly killed in Melete, Borno state by Boko Haram members on November 18th, was doctored and targeted at creating fear in the minds of Nigerians.
In a statement shared on its Facebook page, the Army warns that spreading fake news and videos is an offence and that anyone found guilty would be charged to court. See full text of the statement below:
PRESS STATEMENT ON SPURIOUS DISSEMINATION OF FAKE VIDEOS PURPORTING BHT ATTACKS ON MILITARY LOCATIONS
1. The NA 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 has 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.
2. The NA 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 NA’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.
3. Whilst appreciating the concerns of well-meaning Nigerians who genuinely care for the well-being of its military, the NA 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.
4.In view of this, please note that the NA 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 NA wishes to inform the public of its iReport channels on the NA website, Android and iOS platforms via which the public can forward meaningful advice, criticism or observations that would enable the NA better serve the good people of Nigeria. You are to please note this and kindly disseminate through your various channels.
EDITORIAL COMMENT: We are of the opinion that Terrorism thrives on publicity. When terrorism act is aided or spread by the media, it creates fear in the minds of the consumers. The objective of spreading the Boko Haram video is to discredit the Nigerian Army’ claim that the terrorist group has been diminished in the North east and to further create fear in the populace. That is a typical terrorist operational style.
On this note, we urge Nigerian consumers to avoid sharing such videos. Also, online media practitioners should use their medium to boost the Nation’s narrative and counter or disregard Boko Haram’s messages.