Colonel(rtd) Sambo Dasuki, National Security Adviser
9 March, 2015
The FIRST THING to bear in mind is that our detractors, unpatriotic hirelings of the opposition who have taken up vantage positions in the foreign media, have been actively using their perches to undermine EVERY REPORT which can shed a positive light on the efforts of the military, just so that the FG do not get any plaudits for their exertion. You can see how much damage narrow-minded and insular buffoons such as Aminu Abubakar and Haruna Umar are doing using the AFP and AP respectively. They always have eyewitness accounts to fall back on as evidence whenever and wherever Boko Haram strike but pretend not to know anyone in towns liberated by Nigerian troops, so that they will not authenticate the gains made by our resurgent military. It is both disingenuous and unethical…a violation of sacred trust. The Hausa Services of most foreign radio stations also do the same thing and even transcribe their jaundiced output into international languages. All of that is done to discredit the Federal Government and the military.
HOWEVER, the FG and DHQ acted naively ab initio when they acceded to plans for the Chadians to even go as far as Dikwa. The insincere newshounds know that smart people would realise that the foreigners are only playing a peripheral role in the fighting insofar as they remain pegged to the borders. So they are now trying to pave the way for a skewed narrative by sneaking in dishonest accounts such as the myth of foreign troops operating “deep inside Nigeria” but NEVER naming the places so that we can appraise just how deep foreign forces have come? Chad have only taken two towns in the border areas – Gamboru and Dikwa. Even the BBC know this and have said so.
The unfolding plot is this. A believable false narrative cannot be cooked up unless the myth that the MJTF operate deep inside Nigeria is propagated. The plan is for them to hereafter claim that all gains made by the Nigerian forces was in collaboration with the foreign forces. DHQ must not allow this to happen. Let it be known that all those who are plotting a joint offensive with foreign forces on BAMA and GWOZA are only digging a grave for the heroic efforts of Nigerian troops. To be sure, any town taken in conjunction with the Chadians would be reported by the compromised foreign media as a CHADIAN victory regardless of WHATEVER Nigerian forces do. So we must not get started down that road to folly and ignominy. KEEP FOREIGN FORCES pegged back to within TWO MILES of our borders. If they do not like it, let them get out.
The FG should feel free to hire Gurkha, Sri Lankan, Ukrainian and Indian mercenaries to jointly deploy with Nigerian soldiers within the same two mile radius of our borders while Nigerian troops fight in all places beyond that perimeter. I mean this VERY SERIOUSLY. Such a force will fight for the money sans the diplomatic baggage of President Deby and his troops. Chad are only here to buff the image of their sit-tight dictator. If they say anymore self-aggrandizing stuff, they should be told to leave our soil entirely. Let a joint Nigerian-PMC combo man the border districts instead. The Chadians are currently doing a lot of demoralising and divisive talking which is far in excess of their real involvement in the fighting and have even started bringing foreign TV crews onto our territory to buff Idris Deby’s megalomanic designs? Even the Nigerians who have liberated 36 towns do not talk as much as these Chadians. I am sorry but our leaders acted naively. They seem to fall for every cheap trick.
IF CHAD cannot contain their egotistic designs, get them out. Form a Border Security Task Force of 500 skilled mercenaries, 2,500 Nigerian soldiers and 1,000 Police CTU and they will jointly defend the stretch between Gamboru and Geidam from infiltration. Give them 40 APCs, mortars, gun-trucks and some armoured fighting vehicles. If the neighbours like, let them not defend their borders. Boko Haram will prey on them. Were they not aware when Boko Haram were using their territories as rear bases and logistics supply lines? Now everyone is purporting to have come to help Nigeria in a matter which could have been nipped in the bud if they had cooperated with the Nigerians in years gone past?
CONCERNING what we can do to up the ante on the PR front, it is a very simple matter IF we are empowered with information and given the kind of privileged access which is able to transform a narrative. We shall come away with answers for those who think the FG are not doing enough by providing photos of hardware systems and show the world those towns retaken by our troops by merely posing in front of landmarks with our troops. This is not the biggest and most referenced defence blog in sub-Saharan Africa for nothing. Ability does speak for itself.
What our military PR do is not classified, so there is nothing wrong in partnering with Nigerians to move the real narrative forward. IF foreign PMC advisers can be used in the Northeast for tactical and operational advice and planning, nothing stops our military PR from inviting us to join them in giving the effort a fillip. I believe that we have the leverage with which to reach out to the most referenced defence media and news media across the globe. Many of these people already reach out to us to ask questions but it would take on a whole new meaning if we are able to do so on a quasi-official basis.
During the Nigerian Civil War, MARKPRESS handled military PR for Biafra. The secessionists won the propaganda war. Let us not forget that.
For now, ego will not permit the global media to admit that they spoke too soon and too dismissively of the Nigerian military. It would expose their quackery so they would rather give credit for the battlefield gains to whom it is not due. That is so poor in spirit and antithetical to the hallowed tenets of journalistic balance.
The foregoing was written as riposte to a question posed by OCELOT2006, a Beegeagle’s Blogger.