The Centre for International and Strategic Studies (CISS) has accused foreign media of propagating falsehood with the sole motive of tearing the country apart.
The think-tank, dedicated to conflict research in developing countries, made this conclusion after examining the Boko Haram insurgency and then exploring the possible factors behind its continuous existence.
In a detailed report titled “Foreign Links and the weaponization of falsehood against Nigeria and humanity” signed by Country Representative, Ifure A. Ifure (PhD), on Thursday, CISS analysed the role of foreign media in furthering insurgency.
As part of its fact-finding mission, the Centre undertook a study tour of the theatre of operations in North-East with particular reference to strategic places and institutions which dominated the narrative on the war since inception in 2009.
Among others, the think-tank observed that “ the Boko Haram narrative as propagated in the media by some external links is an attempt to label the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari as incompetent and lacking the political will to handle the crisis in the North East region.
“ It also observed that the use of propaganda by the Boko Haram terrorist is one of their principal weapon of war against the Nigerian state and in connivance with select international news mediums such as AFP, Reuters, etcetera.”
The group reckoned that in an “attempt to elicit cooperation from locals, the NGOs often promise groceries and money to anyone willing to speak against the Nigerian Army in operations, and forcing them to make false allegations of rape, deprivation, brutality, and other vices.
The team was able to identify that the bulk of the news emanating from most of the foreign media on the state of affairs in North-East Nigeria are outright falsehoods with the intent to cause a distraction to the Nigerian troops and to further the activities of the Boko Haram terrorists in operations in North-East Nigeria.
On completion of this exercise and in a bid to avert further foreign interference, the Centre recommended that the Nigerian authorities must:
“ Begin the process of auditing the credentials of the international NGOs in operations in North-East Nigeria to identify those that are carrying out espionage activities on behalf of some foreign interest that want to see to the disintegration of Nigeria.
“ Rise up to curtail the agenda of some vested international interest who by their proxies have launched a campaign of defamation against the Nigerian Military as evident in adverse reports, news stories, articles, documentaries been projected by these group with a vested interest in seeing to the advancement of the activities of Boko Haram in North-East Nigeria.
“ Attempt to take charge of the narrative on the state of affairs in North-East Nigeria by embarking on a massive awareness campaign to expose the spread of falsehoods by foreign interest group who are unhappy with the successes recorded by the Nigerian Military in its operations in North-East Nigeria.
“ Criminalize the spread of falsehood (fake news) on the Boko Haram conflict by any foreign media organization in operation in Nigeria, as well as their accomplices regardless of their nomenclature.
“ Devise a means to keep the citizens abreast of the activities of the Nigerian Military in North-East Nigeria. This is on the heels that a failure to dominate the narrative might give the foreign interest groups the edge in furtherance of their goal, which is to advance the cause of Boko Haram.
“ Closely monitor the activities of the international NGOs in operations in North-East Nigeria, as there is an abundance of pieces of evidence that most of them are working against the interest of Nigeria.”