Sir: They said war doesn’t decide who is right but who is left. Narratives of media reports on counter insurgency in northeastern part of Nigeria is another threat of cyber terrorism and counter- inflicting technique of the dread sect, the system of reports and technique of media narratives are basically incomplete. And by media, I mean social media inclusive. The Nigerian army has come under intense criticism in recent weeks following days of attacks against civilians. Criticism in itself is not bad when justified, what’s dangerous though is that the vast majority of criticisms leveled against the Nigerian army’s handling of the war and calling for a periodic Messiah is politically-motivated. Nigerians are playing a guerilla GameStop.
Boko Haram can only look at the cruelty of the criticisms against the military by Nigerians and embolden them further. The fact that the most acidic criticism and condemnation against the President are coming from southerners shows that Boko Haram is benefiting from two powerful dynamics: the growing unpopularity and anger among Nigerians against Buhari administration, and the toxic political climate, where the ruling party is doing all it can to highlight the success of the military, and opposition camp using every opportunity to create a false narrative of a successful Boko Haram and a defeated Nigerian military. Politicising the security situation without thinking about the consequence is playing with fire.
Nigerians should put politics aside and consider the security implications of what they are doing. Nigerians in the South not living under a constant threat of being blown to pieces or stepping on landmines should be supporting the military. Instead many Nigerians and media houses want the military to fail so they can say I told you so. It is Nigerians who are calling for sanctions against Nigeria under trumped up allegations of genocide against Christians as evident of the brutality of the Nigerian army by a corrupt state. The Nigerian government underestimated how powerful media and social media can be.
The persistent criticisms are fueling external interference. Well, it didn’t take long for Boko Haram to abandon its fight with the military and cowardly train its guns against defenseless and innocent Nigerian civilians irrespective of religious affiliations. The new kid on the block, the self-proclaimed bandits are nothing but a hybrid jihadist group funded by certain powers to take the heat off Boko Haram. Certain interest groups are alarmed at the speed in which Boko Haram is being decimated. They figure that by opening multiple fronts an already overstretched Nigeria security will be hard pressed to continue its blistering offensives against Boko Haram if troops have to be diverted to other areas.
Boko Haram is not a formidable force regardless of what the media say. They are not brave warriors. They are a cowardly sect whose strategy for survival depends on hitting those unable to fight back and ideological support from a foreign government for quasi self-determination. Nigerians should stop this knee jerk reactionary approach towards the Nigerian military and think with their head and not their sentiments. The catalyst of this is that the neighbour next door might be enjoying the show today but if all hands are not on deck, we might be sharing a bed tomorrow in an unknown location.
• Ismail Adam wrote from Bayero University, Kano