The Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, has urged the Nigerian press to stop using “glorifying” titles while addressing the Boko Haram insurgents.
Mr Buratai, a Lieutenant General, said addressing the insurgents with titles like ISWAP, or JAS only glorifies and gives them “undue publicity.”
He said callng the insurgents such names “has further boosted the image of the criminal gang thus assuming larger than life status.”
Mr Buratai made the plea in Maiduguri while visiting troops in the North-east.
Speaking through the acting Director Army Public Relation, Sagir Musa, the army chief said “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.”
Mr Musa, an army colonel said: “the Chief of Army Staff said that it is also important to note that the mode of operation of these elements, is pure criminality for personal gains.
“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 said Mr Buratai had 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.”
The Nigerian army has been battling the insurgents in the region in a war that has claimed thousands of lives and displaced many.
Although the federal government says the sect has been ‘degraded’, they still carry out sporadic attacks on soft targets and military formations across the region.