The Coalition Against Terrorism and Extremism (CATE) believes there is a deliberate agenda by online medium, Sahara Reporters, to trigger mutiny amongst Nigerian troops on the frontlines.
CATE says it came to this conclusion having examined the Omoyele Sowore-owned portal’s reportage on the military and the insurgency war in the last three years.
In a statement signed by president Gabriel Onoja on Tuesday, CATE described SR as an enemy of Nigeria, promoting external interests against the country, doing so by also violating ethical standards.
The centre cited two recent instances where Sahara brought its devious motives against Nigeria to the fore; a report claiming that soldiers have been infected by coronavirus and another alleging troops maltreating civilians.
CATE, therefore, warned Sahara Reporters to quit cyberspace terrorism, having been known to embrace foreign interests against Nigeria’s fight against Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorism.
It further advised the medium to be mindful of the legal provisions of their actions.
Read full statement below:
The Centre Against Terrorism and Extremism (CATE) observes with utmost dismay the deliberate intentions of an online Newswire with an identity as “Sahara reporters” to perpetually cosset actions against the Nigerian Military, which by every interpretation constitutes supportive acts of Cyberspace terrorism.
In the last one month, when the entire world has been brought down by the global Covid-19 pandemic, with economies of even super world countries grounding to a sudden halt and a corresponding reduction in sponsorship of international terrorism, Sahara reporters has enlivened it in Nigeria.
Nigerians must know that before this era, Sahara reporters had satisfactorily established themselves as masked agents of foreign sponsors of terrorism in Nigeria by their reportage. This online publication has assertively asserted itself over the years as the greatest and unrepentant enemies of Nigeria and Nigerians to the extents it promotes external interests against the country so brazenly.
Those abreast with how Sahara reporters begun and its funding to date should not be surprised at the replay of this information. And the Sahara reporters’ medium does it in more ways than imagined, especially on Nigerian troops battling Boko Haram criminals and ISWAP terrorists in Nigeria’s Northeast.
They satisfy their external paymasters through invention or contraption of outright falsehood or fake news and rush to hasty publications of same about terrorists “triumphant” strides. But in all their reports in the last three years, the medium freely violates ethical standards by quoting unverified death figures against the Nigerian Military or Nigerians in the Northeastern part of the country without confirmation from appropriate authorities.
Sahara reporters most favourite past time now is when it promotes all manner of fake news against the Nigerian military battling to preserve the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Nigeria. No one needs a soothsayer to know, the medium has perfectly aligned itself with their agents of darkness, fabricating and publishing falsified terrorists attacks on Nigeria to embolden terrorists. It’s done with fake and escalated casualty figures to celebrate the death of soldiers and dampen morale of troops together with their superior officers.
Even as the professionals as Sahara reporters lay claims, they write such stories with nameless attributions, just targeted at derailing the counter-insurgency operations and dampening the spirit or resoluteness of the Nigerian military or troops to terminate terrorism in the country. CATE has noticed that Sahara reporters is all out to instigate or trigger mutiny amongst troops who will find handy excuses to abandon their duty posts at the frontlines in Nigeria’s Northeast.
CATE is astounded with Sahara reporters’ consistent focus of sexed-up reports on anti-terrorism combats in the Northeast. If they find nothing or notice that Nigerians are enjoying some respite and recovery from the insurgency ravaged Northeast, through the courageous efforts of troops, the online medium cooks anything to rekindle the confidence of their external masters.
For instance, in the March 28, 2020 edition of Sahara reporters with the screaming headline, “BREAKING: Two Nigerian Soldiers Test Positive For Coronavirus In Borno.” It was a three-paragraph story and it said nothing outside scratching the surface. The opening paragraph said, “Two Nigerian soldiers have tested positive for Coronavirus in Monguno, Borno State, Sahara reporters can confirm.”
What is new about Covid-19? Did Nigeria invent Covid-19? To what extent has Sahara reporters investigated Covid-19 in Nigeria to report to Nigerians that it has found it expedient to negatively profile Nigerian troops at the warfront? Its part of the medium’s conspiracy with their foreign sponsors. Terrorists themselves dread Covid-19 and it explains why the tempo of terrorism in Nigeria has waned because Iranians can no longer sponsor them.
And to further betray the medium’s devious motives against Nigeria, Sahara reporters, again wrote in the same story; “It is unclear if the Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC) had tallied the newly recorded cases to the number of confirmed cases in the country….” The basic rule in journalism is that, when in doubt, leave out the aspect in the story. But they played it because they are on a mission.
Please Nigerians, CATE is sampling just two recent reports from Sahara reporters. The second report from same medium is even worse. The medium quoted the Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, Major Gen. Olusegun Adeniyi, as lamenting how Nigerian troops “recorded heavy casualty during a recent encounter with the hoodlums.” The report branded terrorists “hoodlums” and not terrorists anymore. This is barefaced mischief.
Sahara reporters proceeded to circulate the re-circulated videos of soldiers maltreating civilians at no named place and attributed it to Nigeria. All over the world soldiers use same camouflage uniform (khaki). The Sahara reporters photographer would have convinced Nigerians by showing at least a label of a signpost where they claimed Nigerian troops manhandled civilians. But no, because the news medium is on a hatchet job.
Unfortunately, none of any verisimilitude sign that could be linked to Nigeria was indicated in the video which Sahara reporters posted on their website. It’s possible that the medium lifted the photograph from Chad, Niger or even Cameroun and impinged it on Nigeria to serve their known agenda for their external paymasters. This is an uncharitable and unpatriotic act.
This is very unprofessional and unethical. Sahara reporters should settle their grudge elsewhere, but spare the Nigerian military at frontlines. Nigerians have no time to play politics now with issues of security.
CATE is unequivocally stating that Sahara reporters is promoting mischief, falsehood and dishonest objectives to ruin the gains so far made on the war against insurgency in Nigeria. Nigerians beware!! The medium is into active promotion of cyberspace terrorism, by using foreign interests against Nigeria to surreptitiously support Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorism. Sahara reporters regrettably has marketed itself as the terrorists’ chief propaganda corps in Nigeria.
But let Sahara reporters be reminded about the Nigerian law, gazatted as “Terrorism (Prevention) Amendment Act 2013,” Section 5, subsection 1, A & B which says; “Any person who knowingly, in any manner, directly or indirectly, solicits or renders support (a) for the commission of an act of terrorism, or (b) to a terrorist group, commits an offence under this Act and is liable on conviction or imprisonment for a term of not less than twenty years…For the purposes of this section, “Support” includes incitement to commit a terrorist act through the internet .”
CATE pleads with Sahara reporters to be mindful of the legal provisions, its implications and draw a distinctive line between journalism and support of terrorists individuals/groups through their online (internet) publications.