By Aminat Isah
The Minister of Information and culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has decried how some Nigerians, particularly the opposition politicians, have been waging campaign of disinformation against the military on the social media.
Alhaji Lai Mohammed spoke in Abuja at a press briefing in Abuja on Tuesday to announce the government’s plan to launch a massive national campaign in support of the military in their fight against insurgency. He said such unpatriotic acts are discouraging and demoralizing the men and women in uniform.
The Minister said the campaign will be similar to the previous ones launched by the ministry on burning issues such as fake news and hate speech, insurgency and the fight against corruption, by mobilising Nigerians irrespective of their political leanings to show support for the military.
“We are planning to launch a national campaign to rally support for the military. We believe the men and women who are risking all 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.
“I think the biggest opposition probably today that the military has is probably not Boko Haram, it’s probably the Social Media because it’s so uncontrolled. Today, video clips are doctored and clips of happenings in other lands are now reported and sent out as if they are happening in Nigeria. Unfortunately, there is no one to hold responsible. This is very discouraging and it demoralizes the military.
He emphasized that there is a need to give support to the military in their fight against insecurity and insurgency irrespective of culture and political clime.
“I think it is high time that everybody, irrespective of political affiliation, joined in supporting the 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. So, very soon, you will expect to hear from us on this campaign to support the military in the fight against not just insurgency but in the fight against insecurity,” Mohammed said.
He said the national campaign, will be multi-faceted, to include the production and airing of special jingles on radio and television, social media intervention and advocacy.
He also said, the activities of some see ya of the media of not seeking or waiting for official clarification and outrageous casualty figures that are prominently reported are demoralizing the military hence strengthening the insurgent
Mohammed said although, the government would neither censor nor gag the media, journalists must strike a balance between the constitutionally-guaranteed freedom to receive and impart information and national security.
“That brings me to the bigger issue of overall support for our military. Recent developments are disturbing. The activities of a section of the media and some opposition political parties are
demoralizing the military and strengthening the insurgents. Without seeking or waiting for official clarification, outrageous casualty figures are prominently reported. Without consideration for national security, military plans are recklessly revealed. Not even in the United States, the bastion of democracy, does this happen,” he said.