Amnesty International, Foreign Newswires as Nigeria’s Second Coronavirus – By Ahmed Danfulani

April 2, 2020

Fear has been sold to the world with the outbreak of
pandemic of Coronavirus (CONVID-19) in Wuhan, China. In just a few weeks, the
entire world has been reduced to one huge symbol of deaths and of mass graves.

The phobia of Coronavirus is real and deafening. The victims
are as scary as much as the non-victims. 
Like a verse in the legendary South African reggae star, Lucky Dube,
everybody “is the next victim,” unless the haunting image of Coronavirus is
pulled down globally.  It has reached the
shores of Nigeria with about 30 reported cases of infected people, with one
death so far.

Regrettably though, Nigeria has seen enough mass deaths in
her history in a decade to the extent the global alarm over Coronavirus induced
deaths is mincemeat or child’s play in the psyche of Nigerians. Boko Haram
insurgency, with its latest tincture, ISWAP terrorism have made mass deaths a
regular menu in the country.

Can Nigerians excuse themselves from gory and nauseating
memories of mass deaths and graves spurred by vicious armed bandits, armed
separatists campaigners, herders/ farmers conflagrations, communal upheavals,
militancy or religious extremists and even political thugs or violent election
riggers?  These memories are evergreen
and recurs from time to time.

However, it should not be misconstrued that recounting these
orgies of recurrent circle of  violence
and deaths in Nigeria implies an endorsement or preference for it than the
epidemic of Coronavirus. But it’s simply, a parodic attempt to establish how
Nigerians are inured to mass deaths in other more demonic forms in the country
than Coronavirus.

And to date, Nigeria has been grappling with silent, but
very sophisticated layers of Coronavirus in other colorations. Nigeria has been
battling things far more deadly and contagious 
than Coronavirus which neither the military nor the civil authorities
have fully appreciated  its intensity in
recent times.

The determination of President Muhammadu Buhari’s
administration to blight insecurities in Nigeria, especially insurgency is
unflinchingly consistent. And the unquenchable zeal and courageously gallant
outings of the Nigerian military to also eliminate Boko Haram/ ISWAP terrorism
in Nigeria is self-evident. But again, it is variously frustrated in more
stealthy ways than the global invasion and spread of Coronavirus pandemic.

Many Nigerians may not be aware of the dark forces against
the resurgence and festering of Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorism in the country. The
problem with these latest security threats is not because insurgents or
terrorists are so powerful to the level of repressing the Nigerian military. It
is also beyond the contemplation that the FGN has not done commendably enough
to terminate the reign of insecurities in Nigeria.

The major issues in the Northeast are not really the Boko
Haram terrorists who, who like Coronavirus, sneak to hack people to death at
will, abduct and destroy public infrastructures in the region.  It is also not the evil men who masquerade
under the cover of NGOs to subject the already traumatized, frail and suffering
victims of insurgency to inhumane and degrading treatment after taking so much
from the outside world to assist them survive.

More than a few will also be shocked that it is also not the
usual political actors who appear on the stage only when Boko Haram is at the
losing end with their crocodile tears. But they initiate nothing to get youths
off the streets to divert their attention from conscription as foot soldiers of

From these ponders, one will therefore hastily guess that it
is Coronavirus pandemic that is Nigeria’s problem. But the real problem in the
Northeast shockingly is not Coronavirus. After all it hasn’t been discovered in
Nigeria beyond manageable stage, after the first case in Lagos.

On the contrary, the greatest existential threat to Nigeria
now in respect to her battles with terrorism and insecurities is the role of
Amnesty International (AI) and some foreign cables such as Reuters and AFP.
They have constituted the worse stumbling blocks to Nigeria’s match towards
exculpation from insurgencies and insurrections.

AI and these foreign online platforms have been the major
disasters that our country has faced in its war against Boko Haram and  it is hideously more potent and lethal than
Coronavirus.  And insurgency has
attracted more deaths in Nigeria than Coronavirus has ever recorded anywhere in
the world outside Wuhan in China. 

There is every clue to suspect AI and these foreign
newswires as agents and fake news purveyors for terrorists and their external
sponsors. Not only that they fabricate and circulate fake news on the FGN and
the Nigerian Military’s confrontations with Boko Haram, but their extreme focus
of propaganda on Nigeria on the fake side of news is repulsive.

AI has morphed into a daily news medium in Nigeria;
inventing and syndicating news about terrorism and the Nigerian military
encounters with terrorism in the Northeast. The common denominator among them
all is that their published reports are permanently crafted to indict the
Nigerian troops and Military authorities.

It does not usually have named attributions, but speculative
and propagandic. It drapes with everything which conveys the message that these
actors are into active promotion of cyberspace terrorism.  And the world frowns at it and there are laws
which prohibits it.

Nonetheless, these vicious enemies of Nigeria make generous,
but unprovable allegations against the Nigerian military such as human rights
violations, extra-judicial killings, sexual abuse of women, use of child
soldiers, starvation of Boko Harm suspects in military detention facilities,
unlawful arrests and detentions and sundry such constructions of offences of
war crimes.

But sadly, while they level such allegations on the
military, these suspected agents of terrorists are less bothered to confirm
their findings from military authorities before 
rushing to the press with the scanty findings from what they usually
term “eyewitness” account. And the “eyewitness accounts” are usually their
planted agents in the theatre of war  in
the Northeast  or outrightly cooked

Therefore, they reel out very alarming and unsubstantiated
casualty figures. When terrorists triumph against troops or not, a news story
is crafted to give credit to the “invincible” might of terrorists, to cause
anxiety in Nigerians and dampen the spirit of troops. These agents are normally
the first to break the news of Boko Haram attacks on any community, an
indication that they might be privy to such attacks before its occurrence.  It means they are likely working closely with

In its 2015/2016 annual report on Nigeria, AI levelled such
senseless allegations of war crimes against the Nigerian Army prosecuting the
Boko Haram insurgency in the Northeast as well as other security agencies.

 However, when several
probe panels invited them to substantiate the allegations, AI hedged and
adduced excuses on lack of trust in members of the Panel. From its reaction, it
was clear that AI was functioning like an opposition party or alternative
government in Nigeria. And it had no evidence to prove the allegations.  

And the scheming of AI and its apostates is to perpetually
and falsely accuse Nigerian Military of war crimes in prosecution of the
counter-insurgency combats in the country. 
And therefore, frustrate plans by countries of goodwill to sell weapons
to Nigeria to battle Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists, citing human rights
violations and war crimes against Nigeria. 

  So, AI and these
online newswires are Nigeria’s worse version of Coronavirus more than the
pandemic itself.  Any country will be
glad to accept Coronavirus, but pray fervently never to have these agents of
darkness gang-up or occupy their country in the guise of anything.

Nigerians should not forget that AI and these newswires as
well as their external sponsors are very determined to set the people against
themselves. Over the years, this has been the game plan, which is designed to
finally plunge Nigeria into an interminable war like in Syria or Sudan.  But the plans have so far not succeeded
because Nigerians are aware and have refused to fall for their cheap
propaganda. Nigerians are urged to remain steadfast and vigilant.

Danfulani wrote from Yola, Adamawa State.

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