NY Times: How Not To Denigrate Our Troops’ Achievements

By Terna Doki -
 
The recent decision of President Trump to declare Jerusalem as capital of Israel against the position of world leaders to sustain peace in the Middle-east has confirmed my hatred for the pomposity of America.  This is a country that both its government and components flaunts its aura of doubtful superiority and invincibility, but feels no other nation of the earth deserve such endowments. For the sake of a presumed might, America feigns alertness on the whole world; but beneath these shadows is concreted a poisonous heart, with very sinister permutations against the rest of humanity and the world.
 
From an  innate understanding,  God never envisaged a world immune from tribulations. So,  America, like other beleaguered nations of  the world has its own handful of  internal problems.  It is under the scourge of unemployment, the   insanity of teenage gangsterism and gunrunning, natural disasters and the likes. But worse of all, it is a country still vulnerable to creepy terrorism.
 
I was flabbergasted, but expected the negative publicity stunts by “The New York Times”(TNYT) on the Nigerian Military  engaged in the counter-insurgency operations in Nigeria’s Northeast.  The lead story from the series had the caption,     “They Fled Boko Haram, Only to Be Raped by Nigeria’s Security Forces.” The journalist from TNYT, Dionne Searcey  who authored the story, wrote about vague, indecent, immoral  and resentful rapes and sexual exploitation of teenage girls who  are  victims of Boko Haram terrorists housed in IDPs camps.
 
The goriness of the experiences of the victims as reflected by the TNYT was betrayed by circumstantial evidence as contained in the published story itself.
 
When I picked the loopholes, imperfections and the reasonableness it freely projected and peddled in the story, it dawned on me that TNYT undoubtedly delivered a mercantile job. It got me thinking on the compelling reasons to rundown a whole nation and an institution like the Nigerian Military which has gone through abnormal traumas and sacrifices to suppress the lethal upsurge of terrorism in Nigeria. Instead of applause, the Western Press is more concerned with fabricating lies to maliciously rejig the narrative in the aftermath of defeat of Boko Haram terrorists by the Nigerian troops.
 
Indeed, it struck me hard and possessively that TNYT’s attempted denigration of the Nigerian Military must have been greased by a mindset infinitely opposed to tales of the defeat of the terror sect in Nigeria. It explains the satanic quest to disparage   in the aftermath of the defeat of terrorists.
 
The fable in TNYT is ridiculed by its own ethical and professional shortcomings. Firstly, the reporter claimed it has met and spoken to dozens of victims of  Boko Haram terrorism in Maiduguri, who volunteered information about their  sexual rapes in camps  and other breaches ’ by “security forces.”
 
Nicely, all  the victims did not speak under the condition of anonymity to warrant veiling of their identities.  But in all instances’ of cited names, TNYT used only a single name of the victims. I have sensed that this could possibly be a trick to frustrate any attempt either by the Nigerian Government or any other independent organization from attempting to reach out to any of the supposed victims of the sexual abuses in IDPs camps to establish the veracity of the claims in the publication.
 
But the first alleged victim of the rape scenarios really pissed me off. The victim, identified by TNYT as   Falmata is  aged 14.  According to the story, she escaped from her first terrorists captors and “made it to a camp for victims of the war.” She is painted as a teenager repeatedly “raped” by Boko Haram fighters and “security forces.” But most amazingly, at the  IDP camp, Falmata  was allegedly raped twice in one night by different  “officers at two interspaced instances.”  Its   really incredible to imagine a 14-year old traumatized victim, would have the strength and courage to endure the horror of such magnitude of sexual violence by “officers” without screaming for help.  It disproves natural truth.
 
At another segment of the story by TNYT, tagged “Interactive Feature,” with the caption,  “Fleeing Boko Haram, Thousands Cling to a Road to Nowhere,” the experiences recounted by the same victim  Falmata posted  inconsistencies with the initial narrative.
 
The story says unbelievably, “One night, Falmata woke up and realized the whole camp was asleep… She ran until she reached a village... Soldiers spotted her and took her to Dalori Camp, a sprawling site outside Maiduguri.” It sounds more like some fiery tales. Not a lot of us would believe that everybody in a  Boko Haram camp would have slept  to allow Falmata escape unnoticed.
 
But the TNYT shot itself in the foot with the confession that it could not establish whether the claimed masterminds of the sexual violence on victims   were actually soldiers. It wrote about Falmata;
 
“During her two months at the camp, she said, security officers, not always the same men, came for her repeatedly. Falmata described the men as “soldiers,” (sic),  but it was unclear if they were members of the military, the police or another security force. She said they carried weapons.”
 
For me, this is an unconscious vindication of  the military  from this inhuman act. All the TNYT witnesses are not sure of  who “raped” them, hence the coinage,   “security  forces” or “they carry guns.”  Or do I imagine that any IDP would be so daft as not to distinguish a policemen, soldier, civilian JTF or air worker? This is very irritating.
 
This perspective is self-indictment to the scandalmongers of the information as doing a shoddy job. It means, the reporter was not sure of the characters in so-called confessions, yet proceeded to cast a headline, outright indicting denotation on “security forces, ”  about a serious report they claimed was sourced from the field. But they made no attempt at verification or even to approach military sources for its own version of the “scoop.”
 
The second most prominent among the disreputable report, came from the  IDP camp  called Teachers Village, which also imputed pornography, claiming girls were cajoled to bath, while  security officers  watched their nakedness from a hideout, as  some sort of comic relief.  A victim,   Hadiza, aged 18 was at the center of the controversy.
 
 After being raped by a security officer, she was injured, but restrained from seeking medicare in the camp, as if the Medics too are part of the conspiracy for her sexual abuses. Yet, she continued to endure further rounds of sexual abuses by different “security officers?”
 
Just like it sounds hoarse, also is the claim by victims fleeing Boko  Haram raids into Maiduguri, the seat of government, that they  were asked to pay “entrance fee” by soldiers and  the Civilian JTF  before being  allowed access to safety in the city. But how much is extorted per victim remains silent. And  if the victims dreaded the military, could they possibly dread CJTF sponsored and controlled by  the Borno State Government and so, could not lodge reports of such infractions?
 
TNYT proceeded on a wild chase to embalm these shamefully concocted reports with underserved credibility by citing vague reports of human rights abuses by security forces by human rights organizations’.   I know it is not entirely false that human rights organizations’ like Amnesty International (AI) have also previously claimed such misconceptions on Nigerian military.
 
 But these organizations’ and their presumed victims have dreaded and hedged justification for such claims when invited by  lawful probe panels. I do not find it strange that TNYT is replicating similar claims, we know is the favorite of the conspirators bent on pulling down the walls of Nigeria.
 
So, this report has too many pitfalls. And for anyone to think, it emanated from an organization like  TNYT makes it all the more sad. But it informs Nigeria about the extent its adversaries are spreading the dragnet and tentacles of hatred against the country.  As Nigerians, we do not need the preachments from third parties to appreciate or disparage the Nigerian military for the wonderful job of defeating Boko Haram terrorists.  It has given us peace, succor and joy from years of torment by insurgents.
 
 The world has acknowledged this feat and accords Nigeria due honour in the comity of nations. So, the latter-day recruits into the smear campaign against the Nigerian military like TNYT have no option than to toe this path, as against vile and fake propaganda.
 
That its reporters visited the war zone in the Northeast and spent days interviewing victims of terrorism without the embarrassment of terrorists attacks is confirmation of the defeat of terrorism by Nigerian troops without the assistance of the Western world. To attempt to rubbish the gains by ridiculing the Nigerian military is impossible.
 
 It is uncharitable to expend energy and resources to conflagrate other nations of the world, while your own problems stare you in the face unresolved.  The Western Press in the   likes of The New York Times should channel their press to avoid the imminent collapse of the West; but free Africa from their destructive and fake press grip.
 
Doki is freelance journalist based in Markurdi, Benue State.

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