The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, has warned against further glorification of the Boko Haram terrorists, asserting that they should be treated purely as criminals.
The army chief made the observation while on operational visits to troops in the North-east.
He said increased propaganda for the terrorists by the media and some people have emboldened them to carry out criminal activities against the people.
According to a statement by Army’s spokesman, Col. Sagir Musa, the Army boss called for the understanding and support of Nigerians to rid the country of criminal elements such as the terrorists.
Buratai, who described the undue publicity given to the terrorists as worrisome, lamented that “the development has further boosted the image of the criminal gang thus assuming larger than life status.”
He was quoted as saying that “it is wrong for any person to eulogise or support murderers, bandits and armed robbers that the known Boko Haram terrorists group has turned into.”
Consequently, referring to such gang of criminals, bandits, insurgents such as Boko Haram Terrorists Group, JAS or ISWAP in Nigeria could amount to supporting or encouraging terrorism, Buratai added.
The Army chief said that it is also important to note that the mode of operation of these elements is pure criminality for personal gains.
The statement further reads: “It is common knowledge that the criminals no longer pretend to be championing any cause other than quest for materialism as manifested in murder and terror on hapless people.
“He pleaded that as peace loving people, Nigerians should not be glorifying these criminals by calling them by any name other than “criminals,” “rapists,” “kidnappers”, “armed robbers” and “murderers.”
“Unfortunately, many Nigerians are not aware that giving prominence to the criminal activities of the terrorists group through sensational headlines and fake news in both electronic and print media could also amount to tacit support to terrorism which violates the Terrorism Prevention Act 2011.
“It is therefore important that all Nigerians to rally round our gallant troops as they fight these criminals. All should know that the support to the efforts of the Armed Forces of Nigeria in the counter terrorism efforts would boost their morale and it will be highly appreciated. The Nigerian Army is asking for the continued understanding and cooperation of all Nigerians and well-meaning people.”
“He further stated that all troops have been enjoined to henceforth go all out to deal decisively with these criminals. They are nothing but bandits and armed robbers. Let’s support our military to ensure a secured Nigeria.”