Ex-Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai, disclosed last weekend that Boko Haram’s potent propaganda campaign had induced a psychological defeat in Nigerians before his tenure as COAS.
The revelation came during the public presentation of three literary works by Mallam Jibrin Ndace, an esteemed defense correspondent.
The books are titled “Walking the War Front with Lt. Gen. TY Buratai,” “Duty Call Under Buratai’s Command,” and “The Lonely Grave and Other Poems.”
“With the bombings at United Nations House, the bombing of the Police headquarters, the bombing of the Nyanya Motor park, the bombing of Abacha barracks market and the propaganda, Nigerians became afraid and began to feel a sense of defeat psychologically.”
Upon his assumption as COAS, Buratai aimed to shift this narrative by involving journalists in the battle against insurgency.
An ‘information operations’ initiative was launched, which played a significant role in their psychological operations, with Defence Correspondents contributing significantly.
“In a historic first for Nigeria, we had journalists leading the charge with us. Media operations are crucial, known as information operations or psychological operations in the Military,” he said.
The initiative responded to Nigerians’ psychological defeat due to Boko Haram’s propaganda.
“Upon our arrival, we had to vanquish the fear of Boko Haram. Media operations was a strategy to eliminate this propaganda, hence we ensured the press was with us in this mission.”
He acknowledged some might have exceeded or fallen short of their duty, promising measures to address such instances.
He then commended Jibrin Ndace for his commitment and patriotism in supporting the armed forces and stakeholders in counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency efforts.
Editor’s Note: Revamping Nigeria’s Resilience Against Boko Haram’s Psychological Warfare
The distressing admission by former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai, unveils a darker facet of the Boko Haram insurgency that has plagued Nigeria for over a decade.
Beyond physical violence, the terrorist organization has waged a successful psychological warfare, inflicting fear and despair in the hearts of Nigerians and distorting the nation’s narrative.
The aftermath of horrific bombings at various significant locations, amplified by Boko Haram’s potent propaganda, left Nigerians in a paralyzing defeat.
This psychological onslaught was, and remains, an integral part of the terrorist group’s strategy, capitalizing on fear and insecurity to undermine the societal fabric.
However, upon taking up the mantle as COAS, Lt. Gen Buratai sought to rewrite the narrative.
Realizing the gravity of psychological warfare, he brought journalists to the forefront, embedding them in military operations, a first in Nigeria’s history.
This proactive move, aimed at counteracting Boko Haram’s propaganda, was instrumental in regaining control of the narrative, a fact that cannot be overstated.
Yet, this revelation underscores the necessity for continuous efforts to counteract such psychological warfare.
While the physical fight against Boko Haram continues, we as a nation must stand united, firmly rejecting the narrative of defeat and restoring faith in our collective resilience.
The media, the military, and the government hold the power to shape perceptions and inspire confidence.
This power must be utilized responsibly to fortify our national psyche against such manipulative tactics.
This involves accurately portraying the situation, highlighting victories, and humanizing the brave men and women at the forefront of this battle.
We urge the government, military, and media to reinforce their collective efforts in presenting a balanced narrative.
A narrative that does not shy away from acknowledging challenges but also emphasizes successes and rekindles hope in the hearts of Nigerians.
A narrative that brings to light the indomitable spirit of Nigeria, our people’s resilience, and our military’s relentless efforts.
We must foster an environment where critical thinking is encouraged, and citizens can differentiate between propaganda and truth.
Let’s not let the terror tactics of Boko Haram cloud our judgment or dictate our narrative.
This is not a task for the government or the military alone but for every Nigerian.
It’s a call to action for all of us.
Did You Know?
- Boko Haram, which means “Western education is forbidden” in the Hausa language, has been active in Nigeria since 2002.
- The Global Terrorism Index 2020 reported that deaths attributed to Boko Haram in Nigeria fell 41% in 2019.
- According to the Council on Foreign Relations, more than 37,500 people have died since May 2011 due to Boko Haram-related violence.
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