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Boko Haram bombings, propaganda demoralised Nigerians — Buratai


Former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai, has said Nigerians already felt defeated psychologically by Boko Haram terrorist activities and propaganda before his appointment as COAS.

The situation, he said, was not unconnected to the terrorists’ powerful propaganda machinery and bombings of critical venues.

He said the venues included United Nations House, the Police headquarters, the Nyanya Motor Park, and Abacha barracks market.

Buratai spoke at the unveiling of three books authored by a veteran defence correspondent, Mallam Jibrin Ndace, in Abuja, at the weekend.

But, the ex-COAS said he changed the narrative and tackled the terrorists’ propaganda when he came into office by solidifying information operations which allow journalists to be at the forefront with soldiers.

He said: “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.

“On assumption of office as COAS and to change this narrative, I had to bring in (embed) journalists while confronting the insurgency. We began what we called information operations. This helped a lot in our psychology operations in which Defence Correspondents played significant and patriotic roles.

“For the first time in Nigeria’s history, we had journalists in the forefront with us. Media operations something that is critical, which is called information operations or psychological operations in the Military.

“It was necessitated by the fact that Nigerians were feeling defeated unfortunately by the Boko Haram propaganda machine. When we came in, we had to defeat that spirit of fear of Boko Haram.

“The media operations was one of our strategies to ensure that this propaganda was eliminated from our minds hence we ensured the press went along with us to achieve this purpose.

“There are those among us that might have done beyond the call of duty or underperformed and measures are taken to redress those. But the narrative of generalizing should not be so.”

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