By Sumaila Ogbaje
North-East Advocacy for Peace (NEAP), a civil society organisation, has warned Reuters, an international news agency, not to truncate the new found peace in the North-East geo-political zone of Nigeria.
The group, in a statement by its President, Mr Abdul Monguno, hinged the warning on an alleged plot by Reuters to accuse the military of complicity in unethical practices in the region.
He attributed the return of peace to ongoing military operations in the region and described as unethical and failed mission, the attempt by Reuters, a foreign media outfit, to use its medium to undermine Nigeria’s national security.
According to him, Reuters, an international news agency, now part of Thomson Reuters, wrote that it was working on a series of stories about purported actions of the Nigerian military during the government’s 13-year war against Islamist insurgents in the country’s North-East.
Monguno expressed surprised that the foreign news agency had gone petty in a concocted plot to smear the image of the Nigerian military with fake propaganda and unsubstantiated claims.
The NEAP President said that Nigerians, particularly people living in the North East region, would not fall for Reuters evil agenda.
“It is a shame that Reuters is now acting as agents for terrorists that have caused us pains, terrorists that sent us into Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) homes in our country. It is a shame that a group of people who caused us several years of backwardness can be defended by Reuters.
“Is Reuters aware of the several girl children forced into motherhood as a result of the activities of the insurgents?
“Is Reuters aware of our youths who have abandoned everything to become terrorists?
“Is Reuters aware of families who have been disjointed and some killed?
“We, NEAP, and several other genuine organisations are better placed to say what we have faced in the years that our region has been turned upside down and Reuters cannot speak for us.
“Instead of crucifying our military, they should be commended for the sacrifice been made to restore peace and stability in our region.
“We use this opportunity to warn that the gradual return of peace as a result of ongoing operations should not be truncated by the ulterior motives of Reuters,” he said.
Monguno asked if Reuters was alarmed that peace was gradually returning to the region and wondered if the media house was aware that more than 82,000 terrorists had surrendered and genuinely repented of their nefarious activities.
He said the Nigerian military had been commended globally for peace keeping in places of unrest which, he said, Reuters was aware of.
According to Monguno, the negative report will not sway Nigerians, especially the people of the North-East.
“We remain eternally grateful to our Armed Forces for the ongoing military operations in the North-East and the non-kinetic approach of the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor, which is yielding massive successes,” he added. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)