21 MARCH, 2015
The foregoing embedded weblink refers
VOA, this kind of slanted reportage really should be beneath you.
First of all, what is the real essence of putting the name of your Hausa Service hireling namely, Ibrahim Ahmed, on that report? Truth be told, most savvy Nigerians see them as compromised minions of vested interest groups and their offerings are invariably skewed to reflect their biases. Rather than making your report authoritative, it detracted from its likelihood of being a dispassionate narrative.
That fact is made more acutely noteworthy when the VOA, contrary to the hallowed tenets of journalism, prods its readers into reaching certain conclusions rather than asking open-ended questions.
I put it to you that the following excerpts were intended to prod your readers into convicting the FG before a court of public opinion on account of the hiring of Private Military Contractors in the Northeast.
“Whether the fate of the March 28 election will change on the fact that the war is being won in part by private, non-Nigerian soldiers remains to be seen”
So why are you scandalizing the role of PMCs in Northeast whereas America used mercenaries such as BLACKWATER in Iraq and contracted BANCROFT to train and advice Ugandan and Burundian troops in Somalia and the VOA did not raise a whimper on account of those? PROOF?
A glaring case of double standards and biased reportage then. That is permissible elsewhere but should be made an election issue in Nigeria, right? That is rather pathetic, VOA. Your proxy forces in the glamorised Somali theatre needed PMC mentoring but for Nigeria, it is supposedly emblematic of systemic rot in the Nigerian military? Even the USA used PMCs in Iraq and it was not reported as signposting the terminal decline of the US military. Why do you wallow in such bare-faced hypocrisy and double standards which demean the VOA’s stature as a global broadcaster? You surrender your facilities for the Hausa Service reporters to bring their village agenda into a war involving the lives of Nigerian soldiers from across this federation?
I noticed that you have taken a cue from my ground breaking report published earlier this week to put names to the places where PMCs have been active. Yours truly was the first person in the online media, professional or amateur, who mentioned Bama and Mafa as places were PMCs have been involved at any level.
Are you trying to use my lead to reinforce a flawed narrative in the false hope that it is going to make the ingrained falsehood borne in your report become believable?
Additionally and because it is convenient to feign amnesia, you have mentioned towns which you associated with PMC activity but seem not to remember that regional forces from Chad and Niger have only played peripheral roles rather than any major role which you seek to ascribe to them.
Indeed, out of a total of 43 liberated towns in the State of Emergency area, Chadian forces by dint of their own efforts took the border-facing towns of Gamboru and Dikwa while the towns of Damasak and Malam Fatori were taken in conjunction with forces from Niger. Where else have they seen action in the Borno, not to mention all of Adamawa and Yobe States which were captured by the Nigerian military acting alone? I suspect that the VOA know that the regional forces have been peripheral to the main fighting and that is why the VOA are reluctant to come out and directly name the very few border towns where the regional forces have been in action.
Again, I put it to the VOA that you embellished your report with a mythical Cameroonian involvement in the action at Bama. What actually happened was that when Nigerian forces took the town of Bama, Boko Haram forces fled eastwards in the direction of Cameroon and massed at Ndaba. To prevent them from escaping into Cameroon, that country’s forces were advised on the situation by Nigerian forces and given authorisation to engage them on Nigerian soil while Nigerian troops concentrated on taking Bama.
Again, when mention was made of PMCs from Russia, Ukraine and South Africa in your report, you sought to ascribe real or imagined combat roles to them but feigned ignorance of the fact that since August 2014, the Nigerian forces active in the mission area have taken delivery of an array of hardware systems which were hitherto not in the arsenal and that the fighting men to whom these unfamiliar systems were delivered in the middle of an ongoing war, expectedly had to be trained on their operations right there in the field by these PMC trainers and advisers.
Some of the newly supplied systems include T72 tanks, RM-70 122mm rocket artillery, BTR-4 Infantry Fighting Vehicles, BVP-1 Infantry Fighting Vehicles, BTR-80A Armoured Personnel Carriers, REVA Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles, Gazelle helicopters and also, modernised Mi-35 attack helicopters and weaponised Mi-17 assault helicopters, both of which types have been optimised for night-time operations.
As can be deduced by honest assessors, these new systems were manufactured in Russia, Ukraine and South Africa and that is the major reason why PMCs from these countries were contracted to come and train Nigerian forces on the use of the unfamiliar systems right at the frontlines since Nigeria have a war ongoing and the fighting men cannot be trained anywhere else due to the exigencies of an ongoing war.
To be sure, I have photo evidence on my blog to back up ALL of these new acquisitions and you can use the search window on the blog to pull the relevant articles up from my blog archives. I would have done so but I do not want to deface this riposte by embedding too many weblinks.
It is not lost on savvy Nigerians that the Voice of America are the broadcast arm of the US State Department. To that extent, the VOA are decidedly a tool of American diplomacy and possibly, a medium for the dissemination of propaganda, regardless of the posturing about being a purveyor of untainted news reports.
At a time when US-Nigeria relations are at a low ebb on account of the US Government trying to ram its options down the throats of Nigeria’s military leadership while holding back on badly-needed arms supply, the VOA can afford to sustain a negative propaganda offensive?
Indeed, in what amounts to open defiance, Nigeria have turned to Russia, China, Ukraine, South Africa and the Czech Republic for armaments which have decisively turned around the fortunes of the Nigerian military in combat operations. It is therefore not unfathomable that the flurry of skewed reports emanating from the VOA as it concerns Nigeria at this time, clearly seem to be part of a propaganda blitz aimed at cutting Nigeria down to size, putting the FG under pressure to conform, demoralizing the military for their open defiance of American attempts at puppeteering and for making very appreciable progress at the frontlines without American support.
The VOA would do well to retrace its steps and adhere to the hallowed tenets of balanced reportage, lest they become a discredited pawn on their paymasters’ diplomatic chessboard.