Media professional and political analyst, Mohammed Haruna, has said that the Boko Haram sect has killed more muslims than christians since the extremist group became violent after the murder of their leader in 2009.
Mr. Haruna disclosed this, on Friday, at the fourth Wole Soyinka Centre Media Lecture Series in Lagos.The lecture, with the topic ‘Media and Civil Liberties When The Clouds of Fear Gather’, was organized to mark the nobel laureate’s 78th birthday.”Boko Haram has indeed attacked christian targets…but they have killed far more muslims than christians,” said Mr. Haruna, the keynote speaker at the lecture.”Its activities are slowly bleeding the northern economy to death as people are fleeing the north,” he added.Mr. Haruna, who is the founder and executive chairman of Kaduna based Citizens Communications, also stated that the predominance of southern and christian owned media has led to biased reporting of the sect’s activities.”Example is the recent attack in Jos which led to the death of two politicians. It was widely reported that they were shot by Fulani herdsmen, which suited the stereotype.”Whereas the accurate reporting was that they died of shock.”Mr. Haruna further stated that to curb the Boko Haram menace, poverty and inequity must be tackled.”The greatest weapon the (northern) governors can use is investment in education,” he said.”In the old region of Sir Ahmadu Bello, the region used to spend 40 percent of its revenue on education,” he added.The lecture, which recorded a relatively low attendance, had its maiden edition in 2008 and is designed to examine varying topical issues that are relevant to the media, the country, and her democracy.John Momoh, the chief executive officer of Channels Television, urged northern religious leaders to reach out to their constituencies and emphasize peace.”We have begun training our reporters in conflict areas reporting,” said Mr. Momoh, whose Kano State correspondent was caught in the Boko Haram cross fire.”It is also evident that our police force is lacking in manpower, 300,000 for 150million is woefully inadequate,” said Mr. Momoh, who was represented by Patrick Opuze, a media consultant.Renowned human rights activist, Shehu Sani, noted that insecurity is not native to any nation.”But some countries can be the architect of their own misfortune, which is what our country is facing,” said Mr. Sani, represented by Gabriel Ajayi, a retired Colonel.”There is no difference between death by Boko Haram and death by due to the carnage on our roads,” said Mr. Ajayi, who shared the same prison with Mr. Sani after they were sentenced to death in the 1995 phantom coup..”The only thing is Boko Haram is a terror group,” he added.While noting that there have never been any recorded history where anybody brought insurgents down; Mr. Ajayi called for the liberalization of the nation’s security system.”The rigid control of security at the top level is antithetical…”Governors will not misuse state police. If the president does not misuse the (federal police), how can governors misuse the power?”Gbenga Adefaye, the editor-in-chief of Vanguard newspapers, called on the media to separate crime from sentiments in their reporting.Mr. Adefaye said that a text message sent to him by members of the Boko Haram sect read “You idiot, look again at the copy of the text message you are reading and convince yourself that the people you call Boko Haram are the illiterates you’re calling them….”