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#BringBackOurGirls Campaigners Tell The Military To Allow Independent Reportage Of Operations



by Musa Abdullahi

The #BringBackOurGirls campaign group yesterday, commended the victories made so far in counter terrorism action against Boko Haram insurgents by the military in the Northeastern part of Nigeria.

In a statement issued in Abuja on the second week of its six weeks countdown to the war against terrorism and rescue of the Chibok school girls, said it is imperative for the Federal Government and the military to engage journalists as part of its contingents as done by other troops.

According to BBOG, ” Regrettably, the military has yet to take steps to respond to our call for third- party independently-verified accounts of the war.

“We do not wish that the efforts of our gallant troops be cast in any shadow of doubt by a disbelieving public because of previous disappointments. It is for this reason that we reiterate the importance of having journalists embedded among the ground troops to independently cover the counterinsurgency effort. Such practice is in fact a global standard by militaries prosecuting war in various countries.

” We have observed that this practice has been adopted by the Chadian military who have allowed independent reportage of their operations”.
The statement that was signed by Rotimi Olawale, continued, “For the avoidance of doubt we wish to reiterate as we already did in our first Report that our Movement fully supports and endorses the on-going operations of our military. We also commended their early efforts and the results so far accomplished. As a Citizens movement that has been advocating for the rescue our 219 ChibokGirls and other abducted victims of terrorism, we cannot but continue to press for more results as the operations continue.

“We shall continue to laud every evidence of success even as we stand by our Ground Troop in executing this war to eradicate terrorism from our land. We shall in doing so also continue to demand for accountability and better performance by our Government as it executes this constitutional responsibility of ensuring safety and security for all Nigerians and our land”.

They noted that, though some of their concerns have been addressed.

” In our maiden Report covering the period 14th to 20th February we requested that the reporting of the activities – successes and challenges- of the war be backed up with relevant evidence to enable Citizens fully grasp the progress being made.

Since our demand, we have seen signs that the military and the Federal Government did take some steps to address the thrust of our concerns. We have since been seeing a spate of images and audio visuals of activities in the battle front now available in the public domain.

For instance we and members of the public took delight in watching a video of aerial combat in which our Military was decimating a Boko Haram enclave. We applaud such public confidence boosting visuals and ask for more of such evidence.

The reason is simply that in times like this, such evidence based messages of victory at the battle-front enormously help to rekindle citizens’ trust of the counter insurgency operation considering that it has unfortunately been ridden with many suspicions and challenges”.

The group also lauded the visit of President Goodluck Jonathan to the battlefronts saying it was a morale booster for the troops who are making enormous sacrifice.

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