Opinion

That CNN report on Nigerian army

I watched the recent CNN segment on the Boko Haram terror vis-a-vis the state of the Nigerian armed forces; and I was appalled at CNN, appalled at the misguided ‘soldiers’ that granted them the interview; and thus concluded that CNN has, in relation to Nigeria, changed its name to ‘Celebrating Negative News’. I wager that my outrage represents the inert feelings of vast majorities of Nigerians that are still possessed of any sense of pride in the fine exploits of our armed forces.

Pray, how can anybody believe that Nigerian soldiers now sow or buy their own uniforms or buy their army-issue boots and other essential military gears? Lies, lies, but when told so many times, especially about Africa, they begin to ring true. Every army, everywhere in the world, including CNN’s own America, runs a military-gear shop where any soldier can optionally buy any extra non-essential gear he desires.

Are we even sure that the interviewees are bonafide Nigerian soldiers, and not some bitter mutineer, saboteur; or even a Boko Haram member or sympathiser in fake rag-tag military uniform? Yes, it’s Boko Haram that wears fake rag-tag army uniforms, not authentic Nigerian soldiers I see on the streets resplendent and proud in their quality uniforms. Coming to the so-called disgruntled widows, how can anyone be so sure that Nic Robertson, the interviewer, was not suckered in by his local guide, who might have been motivated by some vile objectives?

The highly objectionable airing played into the deep-rooted, age-old stereotype that nothing works in Africa, even when something is working. I dare say that if Nigeria’s military expedition against Boko Haram is that lousy, the terrorists would have overrun the entire country by now. Who stopped the Boko Haram where they are now? Who paid with their blood to keep them at bay? Why these callous attacks on Nigerian military, especially its leadership? Do we want them to go on suicide missions? Or just get plain frustrated?

The setbacks in the Nigerian military’s gallant strides against Boko Haram are overhyped; and I dare say, for some sinister purposes. Traducers and non-patriots alike have ignored the main problem, and that is: the complex internal religious, tribal and political contradictions that have plagued the federal security apparatus and our polity in recent times and thus affected the morale of loyal forces and made this very insurgency the greatest military dilemma for any President, any army, anywhere. Everybody knows that’s the main problem, yet anyone who dares raise it, is drowned out, is ridiculed, like the President was when he ventured that Boko Haram has infiltrated state structures.

To be sure, this sort of biased, highly inflammatory foreign broadcast sits well with the closet civil Boko Haram sympathisers, some of whom are now probably amongst those campaigning to rule Nigeria.

Is it possible for any of our Nigerian TV stations or even the same CNN to be sneaking around Syria and Iraq, suborning subversive stories from disgruntled American troops? You won’t dare because it’s simply not allowed, and if you succeed and you proceed to air it, it shall be considered severe breach of national security laws and therefore prosecutable. Ask Snowden and Assange; now hunted by several western governments for airing what’s not supposed to be aired, and no combat environment was even involved.

Even as it is evident that the military is not resting on its oars, some rank partisans, with a political axe to grind, have seized the opportunity of this CNN ‘scoop’ to escalate their torment of the good people of Nigeria, believing that they are tormenting the Nigerian armed forces as presently commanded.

They forget that no nation succeeds in subduing terrorism by exhibiting this shameful level of disunity and near-subversion of the security forces, notwithstanding that it is the only institution that is so far standing between us and the worst terror any African country has witnessed since time. You defeat terror by supporting and complimenting our men and women in uniform. Criticisms are welcome but they better be reasonable and driven by a high sense of patriotism; not this orchestrated taunts that a certain set people are playing-up as if it’s funny. Shame on CNN.

 

Published in the Daily Times newspaper dated: Monday, January 26, 2015

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Ada Ada

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