2023: Military warns politicians against using its images, visuals for campaigns


The Military High Command has warned politicians against using military personnel, their activities, uniforms or accoutrements as themes or for illustration of message in political advertisements or any such productions.

The Director, Defence Information, Maj.-Gen. Jimmy Akpor, gave the warning in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that three video clips with same scene but different sound tracks were being circulated online, depicting military personnel dancing to music purportedly supporting or disapproving three different presidential candidates.

The first video clip consciously portrayed troops making merry and dancing to music purportedly in celebration and open endorsement of one presidential candidate in the forthcoming general elections.

The second video clip (with the same visuals as the first one) willfully showed troops supposedly dancing to a derogatory song that insulted the personality of another presidential candidate.

The third one showed troops singing and dancing in approval of another candidate.

The defence spokesman said the videos sent a disturbing signal to members of the public and the political class in particular on the face value.

He said the videos seemingly connoted partisanship by military personnel and by extension, the entire military establishment.

According to him, on a closer scrutiny however, it is obvious that the original visual content was manipulated to produce the current ones in circulation.

He said the original soundtrack of the videos was a usual morale boosting song that soldiers sang at military exercises or activities.

“Unfortunately, certain individuals who are unknown at this point, took the video and superimposed different songs on the visuals, which soon went viral.

“It created the odious impression that soldiers were promoting the candidacy of a particular politician while disapproving another.

“While it is within the right of individuals to create media content for political purposes, it is grossly disingenuous to appropriate video of a military activity and use same to create contents that portray the military as partisan, political and unprofessional.

“This is particularly despicable as the nation prepares for the 2023 general elections,” he said.

Akpor said the military could not afford to be partisan or commit to any enterprise that would create disharmony in the polity, saying the military had toiled night and day to protect and keep guard over Nigeria’s democracy since 1999.

“The Defence Headquarters seriously frowns at the deliberate attempt to misrepresent it and wishes to caution media and Public Relations handlers as well as supporters of political parties to desist from misusing images and visuals of military personnel.

“This does not only present the Armed Forces of Nigeria in bad light, it can also sow seeds of distrust and instability.

“There is therefore, the need to be circumspect while copy-writing, never to use military personnel, their activities, uniforms or accoutrements as the main themes or for illustration of the main message in political advertisements or any such productions.

“Defaulters will henceforth be fished out and made to face the wrath of the law,” he warned.

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Ihesiulo Grace

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