By Favour Godwin
A coalition of civil society groups have condemned the open criticism of the Nigeria military in the fight terrorists and all forms of banditry in the country, saying that it portends a dangerous implication of demoralising the gallantry of the military officers at the front line of the battle and emboldening the terrorist.
The groups in a joint press statement signed by Comrade Joseph Onu, for United Nigeria Forum, Comrade Wale Adegoke, Progressive Action for Justice, Unity and Development and Musa Abdullahi, for Transparency Center Network, strongly condemned what they termed “dangerous trend”, which it said is becoming prominent among public affairs analysts, social influencers, etc ,
The statement read in part ” For more than ten years now, our dear country Nigeria and more specifically the Nigerian military, has been in extraordinary battle against the siege of a rabid, ravaging and resurging form of terrorism notoriously known as Boko Haram.
“The destructive activities of Boko Haram must be condemned by all well meaning citizens. We have seen them along side their Islamic State of West Africa affiliate (ISWAP)gleefully slaughter men, women, children and our gallant men of the armed forces; in raids of unsuspecting communities in the rural and urban areas; in their blood thirsty bombings of places of worship, ambush of wayfarers and other forms of gruesome killings. We must collectively confront their dastardly acts on a scale larger than the world has ever witnessed in wars of continental dimension”.
“In economic terms, the reign of terror has brought part of our country to a state of comatose, the economic activities of particularly North East, North West and commercial engagement with other neighbouring countries has been badly affected.
“Recently, there are series of open criticism by a section of the society as to the capacity of the Nigerian military to decimate the Boko Haram and arms bandits terrorizing most parts of the country. We view the criticism as not necessarily relate to the ability, capacity and preparedness of the Nigerian military to perform the mandate of restoring normalcy to the affected areas but a sinister design to demoralize the Nigerian security agencies. Criticism of this nature is capable of giving the insurgents the life line of support the desperately need to stage more daring attacks.
“It is important for us at this juncture to appeal that such criticism be moderated in order to encourage our armed forces to advance towards the line of defence of the enemy. Undiluted commentaries being witnessed are encouraging the terrorists to stage further daring attacks. Boko Haram and other purveyors of anarchy thrive on propaganda and maximum publicity.
Also our major concern revolves around the fact we should as a people not forget the sacrifices made by the gallant military men including those that paid the supreme price in the execution of the difficult mission against Boko Haram now largerly confined to parts of Borno and isolated in Yobe state.
“We must as patriotic citizens exercise greater restrain even while making positive criticism against the conduct of the counter insurgency operations by the Nigerian military. We must eschew spreading bitterness, falsehood and misleading posture capable of distracting and demoralizing our Armed Forces. We must encourage those that lost loved ones, widows and children left behind to continue to cheer our forces in the front lines so that the sacrifices of our heroes past shall never be in vain. We suppose them to defeat our bigger enemy.
“We posit that instead of demoralizing the patriotic men and women still fighting in the front lines, we should encourage them to continue making enormous sacrifices to the best of their ability to our father.
“To the critics of our military in abroad making misplaced and misleading statement, they should place their criticism where it rightly belongs, the door step of Boko Haram that have added the blood cuddling, insane and unimaginable macabre practice of slaughtering innocent harvesting crops in their farms as witnessed few days in Zabarmari, Borno State. They should clamour for an international action aimed towards speedy prosecution of Boko Haram murderers anywhere they are hiding in and outside Nigeria.
“It is to the credit of the Nigerian military that they have succeeded in blocking the lines of supplies of food, medicine and other essential commodities to the terrorists thereby suffocating them in insatiable hunger and desperation to have access to food and other necessities”.