OPINION | Truth vs. Falsehood: When Not to Crucify the Military

April 2, 2020
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I am one of those that that have long stated that journalism has been destroyed in Nigeria with the half-truths and often malicious reportage of events in recent times. It is so despicable that some news mediums would go any length to spread falsehoods, not minding the consequences of such actions in the polity.

The recent redeployments carried out by the Nigerian Army has again elicited reactions from some certain quarters after a news medium in their wisdom twisted the narrative in an attempt to mislead the general public into believing what is not the case.

As a start, it must be stated in unequivocal terms that should the likes of Sahara Reporters carry on in this fashion, Nigeria might wake up one day and realize that we do not have a country anymore.

It is no secret that Sahara Reporters thrives in falsehood, and the content of their news items are highly paid for by their numerous clients that consist mainly of those who do not have the interest of the country at heart. I stand to be corrected; Sahara Reporters can be termed a platform dedicated to the propagation of Armageddon in Nigeria.

Its editorial style smacks a mockery of what journalism entails. Its writing style is unprofessional and lacks every sense of standard editing protocols. It’s more like a copy and pastes session where they are eager to publish in return for their paycheck.

This brings me to the recent publication by the same Sahara Reporters wherein it stated mischievously that the recent redeployment of the Theater Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole in North-East Nigeria by the Nigerian Army was done because Major General Olusegun Adeniyi complained and exposed the inefficiencies of the operations of the Nigerian Army in North-East Nigeria.

This was not surprising coming from the stable of Sahara Reporters. But the challenge here is the fact that the news medium would elect to pass such falsehood to the unsuspecting general public with so much impunity, not minding whose ox is gored.

As a first, Sahara Reporters is not conversant with military operations, and as such, it is smacks of a mockery for it to attempt to blackmail the Nigerian Military for a purely military action. I am constrained to pen this article to put issues in proper perspectives as one conversant with the operations of the Nigerian Military with regards to promotions, demotions, appointments, and redeployments.

As a start, there are standard procedures in the Nigerian Military with regards to the above mentioned. The operational strategies of the Military are always subjected to routine appraisals, and based on reviews, such things as promotions, deployments, and the likes are effected in boosting the operational effectiveness of the force.

I want to use the case of rotation of troops in the battlefront as an example. It is standard procedure, not just in the Nigerian Military, for occasional rotation of officers in their various commands. This is so because when an officer stays too long in a duty post, there is a tendency for such officer to get compromised in the cause of the discharge of their duties. This practice is not just restricted to Nigeria but the world over. This is easily verifiable.

So, that Sahara Reporters sees the redeployment of Major General Olusegun Adeniyi as witch-hunting is a function of two variables. One is the fact that they must have acted in crass ignorance of standard military practice, and two, they carried out the instructions of their paymasters to cause disaffection in the polity.

Either of the above, their action is quite despicable and capable of causing unrest in the country. And not just that, their actions can go a long way in causing mutiny in the Nigerian Military for very obvious reasons. It must be stated that since the formation of Operation Lafiya Dole in North-East Nigeria, scores of commanders have been appointed and replaced by the military hierarchy in line with standard practice. And this standard practice was what led to the appointment of Major General Olusegun Adeniyi in August of 2019 when he took over from Major General Benson Akinroluyo.

It also suffices to add that Major General Olusegun Adeniyi has been in the theatre of operations in Maiduguri for a while. He was the deputy theatre commander to Major General Benson Akinroluyo, whom he subsequently took over from as commander in 2019. So in a way, the narrative been pushed by Sahara Reporters is not only defective, but it is also of poor taste given the fact that Major General Olusegun Adeniyi has been in the theatre of operations for over four years as deputy theatre commander and subsequently as commander.

I must state that this is standard practice, and this much as seen to the various rotations of officers across military formations in the country. Mind you; the recent redeployments didn’t affect Major General Olusegun Adeniyi alone as scores of officers were also affected.

At this point, the public must be aware that Sahara Reporters desist from crucifying the Nigerian Military for no justifiable reason. It must also do well to learn not to delve into issues that are routine military practice the world over. It is, therefore, my considered opinion that this is not a time to play to the gallery. They can continue their money for stories regime, but I beg that the Nigerian Military is spared their shenanigans.

The enormity of the task at hand requires all levels of concentration, and this much Sahara Reporters must realize and come to terms with. They should also do well to educate their paymasters that spreading falsehood against the Military serves no good now and always.

The public must also do well to see through the veil of Sahara Reporters and consequently views its reportage of issues with a pinch of salt. A word is indeed enough for the discerning. This is my take.

*Jackson is a public affairs analyst and wrote from Abuja.

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