19 March, 2015
Lt General KTJ Minimah, Chief of Army Staff
The foregoing embedded weblink refers.
Your article signposted a new low in unethical journalism and was notorious for its deliberate obfuscation of facts, pursuant to your undisguised mission of writing to tarnish reputations. My modest guess is that, as is typical with most skewed narratives emanating at this time, it was written to give a fillip to your political preferences.
Personally, I have followed your work since you undertook a Kano-Lagos train ride for the now-rested “BBC AFRICAN PERSPECTIVE”. That was a great report which was aired about fifteen years ago whereas this diatribe appears to have been badly jaundiced by a preference to deploy ethno-regional gimmickry.
Here are the facts:
So of all 42 towns which were liberated in Adamawa, Yobe and Borno, it is now the backwater that is Dikwa which was the nunc dimitis of the war, just because Chad operated there and you were clearly writing to discredit the FG and the Nigerian military?
If President Deby said they spotted Shekau at Dikwa, you think the Nigerian Army deployed faraway at Mafa, Marte and Monguno stopped the Chadians from killing him? That sounds like puerile conjecture. It was just another hollow claim made by a megalomanic President Deby and the Chadians have been caught more than once telling white lies about their role in this war. How many times have Nigerian troops spotted or killed Shekau or one of his doubles? Did that mark the end of the insurgency? So why make it seem like the war would have ended had the Chadians been allowed to slay Shekau? Such incongruent extrapolation is emblematic of the sort of incoherent buccaneering journalism which many compromised Nigerian journalists subscribe to. Who hired you to write that cheap diatribe?
I put it to you, Malam Ishaq Modibbo Kawu, that neither President Deby nor his military spoksman, Colonel Azem, can be described as being ‘credible war communicators’. They routinely peddle falsehood to make themselves look better than they really are. PROOF? Here we go…
At the end of January 2015, Chadian troops claimed to have liberated MALAM FATORI.
Only a week thereafter, Boko Haram staged their first-ever attacks in Niger and that was when they hit Bosso and Diffa from, wait for it, a supposedly liberated Malam Fatori.
Indeed, Malam Fatori had not been liberated at all for again in March 2015, Malam Fatori was apparently ‘liberated’ but this time, by a joint force Chadian and Nigerien troops.
So the Chadian military were clearly caught lying about battlefield gains. And they lied yet again. For indeed, they also claimed to have taken the town of DAMASAK in conjunction with Niger’s troops.
That was another lie which was exposed by Radio France International a few days after when they reported that Damasak was still in Boko Haram hands. And as if to confirm that, the Nigerian Army which you maligned so terribly, stepped in to reclaim Damasak only last weekend, in the face of flailing attempts by JOINT Chadian and Nigerien forces to capture the border town from Boko Haram. There goes your ‘valiant’ Chadian Army.
It is again emblematic of lazy journalism for you in Nigeria to sit behind your desk and unashamedly quote a decidedly dubious Adam Nossiter of New York Times who writes his fiction from faraway Senegal.
Be that as it may and even as you are a professional journalist whereas I am a humble citizen journalist, I have reached out and sought the perspectives of those you termed ‘mercenaries’. If only buccaneering Nigerian journalists would take a cue therefrom instead of quoting the AFP, AP and Al Jazeera all the time.
That is what is going on in Borno at this time. So why make it appear as if the ex-paramilitaries of Namibia’s Koevoets it is who have now become the storm troopers in Borno? I put it to you, Ishaq Modibbo Kawu, that the trainers/advisers in Borno are predominantly ex-soldiers drawn from the apartheid-era South African Defence Force and the South African Air Force of that same epoch. Koevoets are a footnote to the story but I am not surprised that you sought to amplify that bit of falsehood way beyond its relevance and factuality, all in a calculated attempt at misinforming Nigerians and smearing the Nigerian military.
Be it known to you that as of Monday 16th March, a total of 42 towns had been liberated in the mission area. Nigerian troops fighting ALONE and without your Chadian mentors, cleared all of Adamawa and Yobe States while the Chadians only took Dikwa and Gamboru. Along the line, a joint Chadian+Nigerien force took Malam Fatori while that joint force probably managed to take Damasak following an intervention by Nigerian troops.
The fact is that our Nigerian troops have done more than 90% of the fighting yet you make every minor battle seem like it was the main event.
WHAT is the strategic relevance of DIKWA? Because Chad operated there? Is that historical desert town more strategically important than the garrison towns of BAGA, BAMA and MONGUNO which have been retaken by Nigerian troops? Your contemptible kind of cash-and-carry journalism deserves to be consigned to ignominy. It is not worth anybody’s time but you surely needed to be led to the bright light.
In closing, be it known to you that the same BBC which you worked for have sent in a Nigerian youth, Tomi Oladipo, to go see and report from the mission area. Imagine if they had trusted your powers of discernment and hired you to report from Borno? It would have been calamitous for Nigeria, I dare say.
I am sure you are constrained to believe your former paymasters or you worked for them in the belief that they are not credible? I doubt that.
FACTS must remain SACRED in the reportage of this war.