President Muhammad Buhari and The Chief of Army Staff
The Nigerian Army has occasionally made statements condemning the spread of misinformation which, it says, has the potential to undermine national security. It has more frequently debunked particular claims about its operations that are in circulation. But recent trends show that it might have extended its definition of “fake news” to include any information from journalists that it is not comfortable having in the publicㅡeven if true.
In May 2019, the army accused some individuals of
“deliberately churning falsehood against the security agencies with a view to set the military against the people and the government”.
“They are also demoralising troops and security agencies through false accusations and fake news,”
it said, adding that such actions had great consequences for the country.
The army itself, however, has been caught in the very act it has condemned time and again.
PREMIUM TIMES reported on July 11 that 356 soldiers, who are exiting the Nigerian Army, cited “loss of interest” as the reason. The paper noted that many of the soldiers withdrawing from service are those engaged in the war against insurgency in the Northeast and said insiders believed the trend “is an indication of low morale in the army due to poor leadership”.
“[The army has become] broken, demoralised and polarised more than ever before under Buratai,” the paper reported, quoting an army insider.
Similar reports have been published by TheCable, Punch Newspaper, and Global Sentinel which said, according to sources within the military, “many have either deserted, abandoned their positions, on AWOL or about to also disengage if nothing is done quickly to arrest the downward spiral of morale.:
Reacting swiftly, the Nigerian Army tagged the publications as “fake news” and “mischievous” in a series of posts on its social media handles.
It referred to the report as “fake and mischievous news story by supporters of Boko Haram designed to dampen the morale of gallant and patriotic soldiers”.
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