The Nigerian government has accused the separatist group, the Indigenous People Of Biafra, IPOB, of using ‘’fake videos’’ to mislead the public into believing that the army is killing its members in the ongoing military exercise in the South-east region.
A statement signed by Segun Adeyemi, special assistant on media to the Information Minister, Lai Mohammed, said Mr. Mohammed made this allegation during a meeting with online publishers in Lagos, South West Nigeria.
At least three videos reportedly disseminated by supporters of the group had alleged the torture of IPOB members by the Nigerian Army, resulting in the deaths of some of the victims.
The lawyer representing the IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, had also accused the army of killing many of its members during various attacks on communities dominated by IPOB members.
The lawyer, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, had also written the United Nations demanding its intervention, to ensure that the current military presence in the South-east is suspended.
“The Military has declared war on the innocent, unarmed and defenceless civilians. In the face of this unprovoked killings, torture, abduction and malicious destruction of property, I still appeal for calm from IPOB members. Just be assured that the entire world is watching. We will avail the world with the pictures of these dastardly acts,” Mr. Ejiofor had said in a statement made available to PREMIUM TIMES.
In Monday’s statement from the information ministry, however, Mr. Mohammed was quoted as saying that the IPOB members wrote the international community, only to ‘’paint a picture of themselves as the victims.’’
”We must warn the nation against IPOB’s next line of action, which is to externalise their lies and propaganda. Now they are writing to governments and the national parliaments of some Western nations to give the impression that they are victims of an ethnosectarian violence orchestrated by the government, hence they need protection.
”Some of the tools that have been employed by IPOB include blatant lies and cheap propaganda, and the medium of choice for the organisation is the Social Media. IPOB has harvested gory videos and pictures from other lands and the distant past, which they are now circulating via the Social Media, to deceive the international community into believing that the people of the South-east are being subjected to state-sponsored, ethnoreligious violence.
”Such videos, which have very high emotive quotient, are circulating on the Social Media as we speak. These videos are doctored to make them look current. They are fake!” he said.
According to the statement, Mr. Mohammed said some ‘’ill-informed foreign individuals are already trumpeting IPOB’s lies and propaganda and even alleging genocide.’’
”It is either they do not understand the meaning of genocide or are being mischievous. Either way, there is nothing like genocide anywhere in our country today. What we have in the South-east is a clampdown on a band of lawless people who have no regard for the laws of the land.”
The statement further said Mr. Mohammed urged online publishers to be more responsible and avoid spreading what he regarded as ‘’fake news.’’
”In the interest of the nation and your own interest, you must counter this fake narrative, report the issues responsibly and without sensationalism and present the truth to the public. If the Social Media, your platform, is discredited because of the activities of quacks and Internet Trollers, you too will be discredited and your publications will simply go down.
”That is why you must distinguish yourselves, as trained and tested professionals, from the charlatans who have seized the Social Media by the jugular, those who have no regard for the truth and who do not care whether their fake posts set the nation ablaze,” the minister said.
In his reaction to Mr. Mohammed’s comments, Mr. Ejiofor said the videos while genuine ‘’are subject to investigation.’’
“I can tell you that the Nigerian Army has been doing everything within its powers to suppress evidence. But regarding all these videos, they are impeccable and can be investigated,” Mr. Ejiofor said.
The Nigerian government recently accused politicians, it regarded as ‘’disgruntled,’’ for the ongoing security threat in Nigeria’s South-east.
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: To advertise here . Call Willie +2347088095401...