Al-Jazeera’s Report On Emergency Rule And Civilian Casualties Misleading – Presidency

AljaThe Presidency has for the umpteenth time stated that the on-going Emergency rule in Adamawa, Yobe and Borno states is meant to protect the civilian populace and the territory from the macabre and dastardly assault on the Nigerian state by insurgents and terrorists.

This re-affirmation comes on the heels of a special report by Aljazeera (see the report here) which indicates that large numbers of civilians have been caught in the cross-fire between military forces and insurgents but reacting to the widely televised report in a statement, President Goodluck Jonathan’s Special Adviser on Media & Publicity, Reuben Abati stated that the report on state of emergency and “civilian casualties” is contrived and misleading.

The statement reads:

We view with grave concern, the attempt by sections of the media, especially the foreign media to mislead the general public and the international community about the on-going State of Emergency and military operations in three states of the Federation: Adamawa, Yobe and Borno. For the avoidance of doubt, the declaration of a state of emergency and the consequential security operations are meant to protect the civilian population and the territory from the macabre and dastardly assault on the Nigerian state by insurgents and terrorists. It is not an operation against innocent citizens as Al-Jazeera and others are suggesting.

In executing this sovereign objective, President Jonathan explicitly directed that the operations be conducted in line with applicable rules of engagement and peculiar care in managing a unique situation. In an earlier statement, he had also made it clear to the military high command and received assurances that those who violate their operational orders will be disciplined accordingly. In line with this regard for the rights of the civilian population, the President Jonathan had ordered the release of women and under-aged persons in protective custody, and made arrangements for their immediate rehabilitation. Fifty eight persons in this category have been released.

The Armed Forces have also secured the release of six women and children in Boko Haram captivity. There is nothing to suggest so far any violation of operational orders by the troops operating in the North East. Their intervention has received popular support, among the civilian populace, and within two weeks of operation, the possibility of calm and normalcy resonates even as enclaves of terrorists are raided and their capacity to continue their reign of terror heavily compromised. This is a process and the Government owes it to the people of the North-East to see it through.

The Jonathan administration believes that media reporting of the reality of living in a state of emergency is needed to keep the local and international community well informed and to hold accountable those prosecuting the military operation to help build trust and sustain the public support needed to build lasting peace.

Rather curiously however, the last two weeks have witnessed mischievous attempts by a section of the media to generate negative propaganda around these operations in the North East. Most recently, a video report by Al-Jazeera yesterday titled “Civilians among dead in Nigeria offensive” (May 31) sought to put the government and the people of Nigeria in bad light. This is regrettable. While we welcome an open interrogation of government’s activities, we reject any attempt to exploit the security situation in the North East to malign, discredit or otherwise undermine the country’s efforts by other surreptitious means. There can be no doubt that the Al Jazeera report of May 31 is in very bad taste.

Two quick points will highlight the concerns here: (1) the video is that of the unfortunate incident that occurred in Bama on May 7 and has no connection with the current operation. If anything, the victims shown in the video were those the Boko Haram attacked before they launched an offensive on the Bama prison (2) the claim that the man in uniform shown in the video is a Nigerian soldier cannot be sustained, because in a war-like theater as we have on our hands, anybody could have been clad in a military fatigue; and we have seen Boko Haram members appear in military fatigues in their propaganda videos.  Besides, no soldier has left the frontlines since the beginning of the operations. Surely, this type of reporting on a serious national security issue is irresponsible and should be deplored by all.

We reaffirm the Government of Nigeria’s commitment to and belief in the professionalism of the Nigerian Military, an institution that has served with distinction on many occasions across the region and outside. We deplore the effort to encourage terrorists through unverified and inaccurate reporting, and the desperation to blackmail the current peace and security process.

 

9 Comments

  • Its clearly misleading… Even the soldier’s english alone can tell any fully born nigerian that, that’s not our nigerian soldier.. They probably borrowed that man from ghana(or neighboring country) cos that’s their intonation… Carry go nigerian soldiers… Enough is enough

  • Even the vehicles were not army combat vehicles but police vans. We have also seen the pix of the dead used before in past reports. Its all propaganda. Imagine the english spoken by the soldier. That’s pure american or british intonation not the type our soldiers speak. All lies from aljazeera partners of boko haram.

  • Is aljazera not happy that the boko haram are not bombing our churches or mosque and our bus station or killings innocent people, please aljazera should look for a way to work with Nigerian government and end the menace of boko haram, we Nigerian don’t want our country to be like Afghanistan or Iraq, and we are giving our military total support to end the boko haram menace.

  • Aljazeera or whatever the name is can now be seen as an eenmy to all Nigerians, throughout d time boko haram pple have bee killing innocent ppl and deseroying their properties, what condemnation did d Aljazeera put up against such killings? Now that d govt of Nigeria is trying to fins a lasting solution to it the media house now came up with a biased report and deceptive video. Aljazeera should be called to order to stop misleading pple. Rubbish.

  • Aljazeera or whatever the name is can now be seen as an eenmy to all Nigerians, throughout d time boko haram pple have bee killing innocent ppl and deseroying their properties, what condemnation did d Aljazeera put up against such killings? Now that d govt of Nigeria is trying to find a lasting solution to it the media house now came up with a biased report and deceptive video. Aljazeera should be called to order to stop misleading pple. Rubbish.

  • Al-jazeere please i’m begging you and your allies to live nigeria alone.whatever you are planning to do in nigeria can never work for you because nigeria is not an islamic nation else your media station will fall.

  • Al-jazeere please i am begging you and your allies to live nigeria alone.whatever you are planning to do in nigeria can never work for you because nigeria is not an islamic nation else your media station will fall.

  • we all understand the politics behind the Al-jazeere involvement in the Nigeria and Boko haram issue … Nigerians are so wise to be fools and mislead with such information for you Al-jazeera… we need peace in Nigeria if it takes the military involvement to achieve that in the northern part of Nigeria then let give them our support and useful information that will lead to achieve the good arm of the Nigeria government and not some group of pple that profit and like the business of Boko-haram…

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