… Launches National Support Campaign for Military
FG on Thursday launched National Campaign In Support of the Military with a call on the citizenry to shun acts and utterances that would dampen the morale of troops in the fight against insurgency.
Minister of information and culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, launched the campaign in Abuja at the ceremony attended by spokesmen of the Army, the Air Force and the Navy.
Alhaji Mohammed said the campaign in support of the military was being launched “ Because we believe that the men and women in uniform who are risking all, including making the supreme sacrifice, to keep us safe deserve the support and prayers of all Nigerians, not vilification, insults and other acts that are capable of dampening their morale.
The Minister appealed to the media to show utmost professionalism in reporting the insurgency. “They must seek official clarification before reporting casualty figures, and must realize that the military will not release the identities of soldiers who have paid the ultimate price without first notifying their families. They must also not reveal national security as well as military plans, since such acts can put our troops in harm’s way,” he pleaded.
He said this was the most appropriate time for the launch “Because, as our gallant men and women in uniform clear the remnants of the home-grown insurgency called Boko Haram, they are confronting a fresh crisis, a global insurgency. A faction of Boko Haram has aligned with the global terror group, ISIS, to form ISWAP, the Islamic State’s West African Province. In other words, ISIS now has a strong foothold in West Africa – with Nigeria in the forefront of the battle against them.”
The Minister added that “ With ISIS largely dislodged from Iraq and Syria, there is undoubtedly a flush of fresh fighters and weapons to ISWAP. Therefore, our military is fighting a global insurgency, without the kind of global coalition, including the United States, that battled ISIS in Syria and Iraq.’
Decrying negative attitude in some quarters to the military, he said “Those who do not understand the fresh threat facing our nation, nor appreciate the sacrifice of our troops, have now made it their past-time to wage a campaign of disinformation against the military, especially in the social media. Doctored videos and pictures purporting to show massive military casualties are willfully circulated online. Such unpatriotic acts are discouraging and demoralizing our troops, and must stop forthwith.”
Alhaji Mohammed noted however that “those who engage in this act of disinformation are few, and do not represent the majority of Nigerians who appreciate the patriotism and the sacrifice of our gallant troops, “ adding that “ That’s why we are launching this campaign, to mobilize the majority of the good people of Nigerians, irrespective of their political, religious or ethnic leanings, to show support for our military.”
The Minister stressed that “It is high time that everybody joined in supporting this global war (against insurgency). It’s not unusual, as a matter of fact it’s usually the practice, that when a country is faced with this kind of challenge, people will sink their differences and work together.”
He disclosed that “The NATIONAL CAMPAIGN IN SUPPORT OF THE MILITARY will be multi-faceted. It will include the production and airing of special jingles on radio and television, social media intervention and advocacy. In fact, the jingles are ready, and will be airing on radio and television starting this week. Also, the materials for newspaper and social media are also ready.”
While calling on the support of the media in the campaign, the Minster noted with delight that some television stations were already airing their self-produced materials in support of the military at no cost and expressed deep appreciation to them on behalf of government.