Nigerian military warns journalists, visitors, over Chibok, other operation areas

The military says unapproved access by journalists and others to operation areas will draw consequences.

The Nigerian military on Sunday warned journalists and visitors monitoring its operations against Boko Haram in Nigeria’s northeast, saying unapproved access to operation areas will no longer be tolerated.

The military said it would not be held responsible for “any unsavoury outcome of such movement” which it said amounted to “undue obstruction to operations”.

“The Defence Headquarters has noted the presence of a large number of tourists, journalists and adventurers of diverse interests moving about in areas where security operations are currently ongoing especially in Adamawa and Borno States without the necessary security cover or clearance. This trend constitutes unnecessary risk to the persons especially the foreigners involved. It is also an undue obstruction to operations,” defence spokesperson, Chris Olukolade, said in a statement Sunday.

The rare warning came more than a month after the abduction of more than 250 schoolgirls by extremist sect, Boko Haram, an attack that has terribly humiliated the Nigerian military.

The security forces have failed to rescue the girls and have been widely criticised over its handling of the Boko Haram crisis.

Global rights group, Amnesty International, said the military received advance warning about the kidnapping in Chibok, Borno State, but failed to act to stop it.

The United States and the United Kingdom, helping with effort to rescue the girls, have also criticised the military’s human rights record, as well as its fading capacity to stage a firm operation against the increasingly brutal Boko Haram.

A mutiny by frustrated troops on Thursday, added to the embarrassment. The soldiers, disgruntled by poor welfare and equipment, opened fire at the motorcade of their senior commander, Ahmed Mohammed, a Major General, whom they blamed for the deaths of their colleagues.

Coming at a time local and international media are focused on Nigeria over the Boko Haram crisis, with hundreds of journalists poring into Borno State and other parts of the country, the warning from the military may be seen as a move to gag independent reporting of the crisis.

Major General Olukolade said “Much as the military has nothing to hide and believes in the freedom of movement in the country” there was need for people to recognize the status of certain places as operational area.

“Anyone violating the existing procedures for coverage or movement in the mission area does so at his or her own peril as the security forces should not be held responsible for any unsavoury outcome of such movement,” he warned.

He said necessary arrangement will continue to be made for the protection of persons and visitors whose movement is “duly vetted and in line with development in the security situation on ground in particular mission area”.

“The general public is hereby informed that obstructive, suspicious or risky movement of visitors will not be condoned in any mission and operational area in the country,” Major General Olukolade said.


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  • BlackieUmukoro

    They are spies and making unecessary subversive visits.

    • Okikiola Beckley

      They are clowns. They are just afraid that their incompetence will be exposed. Even in real theaters of war journalists are allowed to do their job and they are even embeded with the troops.

      • BlackieUmukoro

        After proper approval and accreditation, and not an all comers affair Sent from my BlackBerry wireless device from MTN

      • Greg

        GBAM!!!

  • Lanre

    Does anyone understand Gen. Olukolade? Because I don’t. Which restriction? If you have operational control of the area (not on the internet or the pages of newspapers) how are these so-called foreigners able to enter these zones? Without proper accreditation. These people (Nigerian Military) continue to baffle me daily. Unbelievable!

    • Intelligentia

      I agree but I think it’s good to let people know that there are some characters coming into the area without permission!

  • redeem

    American Conservatives have reached the firm conclusion that Hillary Clinton is to blame for those Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by the terrorist group Boko Haram, 14 months after she left office. Their reason is hinged on the fact that she refused to designate them as a terrorist group while she was in office-because the Fulani elites from the North lobbied against it-in the US with Israeli groups whom they paid very heavily to work against the move by the US to tag them. Unfortunately for 9ja, the same people are blaming Jonathan for the atrocities committed by boko haram-in various parts of the the fulani north under the cover of the arewa peoples club-APC-which has been the main supporters of the boko haram insurgents-through their presidential candidate General Buhari-who recently decried the way government troops have been dealing with the militants-believed to have moved in from the west african sub region to invade Nigeria-blame BH on the fulani north-not Jonathan–go and bring the girls u guys talk too much

    • nija pikin

      Designate or print I’D card and tie it on their neck doesn’t change anything even the auto pilot says him visiting chibok wont help so the EXPOSED NIGERIAN MILL TRY TOO LITTLE TOO LATE THE WAR ZONE IS SAMBISA NOT CHIBOK WHY DONT YOU WANT JOURNALIST TO VISIT.

    • zafi

      OLODO

  • emmanuel

    This same Premium Times trying to blackmail the Government and military of trying to gag the media would not tolerate anyone who question their false, unsubstantiated reports and stories. Al such criticisms are usuall taken down.

    Hypocrites!

  • Intelligentia

    Is there any reason why the Nigerian military’s posture is not in line with operational security? Anyone who has been involved in military operations of the nature involved here should not be surprised that the Nigerian military would issue the warning. In fact, it would be irresponsible for the military to allow every Dick and Harry who calls himself or herself a journalist or tourist to move in and out of the operational areas with impunity. There is no way of knowing spies from friendlies without controlled movement in the area. I support the Nigerian military on this!