YNaija Analysis: Another bomb blast in Maiduguri but the Army wants to monitor social media

The Nigerian Army has been in active combat, trying to wrestle the North East from the stronghold of deadly terror group, Boko Haram since 2009 (that’s if you choose to go with the theory that the terror fully began then and not seven years prior when the Jamā’at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-Da’wah wa’l-Jihād was actually founded). In that time, the group has managed to claim affiliations with two of the world’s deadliest terror groups: the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda. They have also been ranked as the world’s deadliest terror group by the Global Terrorism Index in recent years. Meanwhile, killing several thousands of Nigerians yearly and displacing and kidnapping millions more as they gain control of several territories within the North East region.

While the deadly advancement of this horrible group of killers is undisputable and its daily reminder, evident in the increasing number of impoverished human lives rotting away (or being accidentally killed) on Internally Displaced People’s camps across crisis-ridden parts of the region, the Nigerian Army continues to maintain the falsehood that Boko Haram has been conquered.

Four months into the Buhari-administration (which campaigned heavily on its ability to rid the nation of the terror perpetuated by this group), the Director of Information at the Defence Headquarters announced that all Boko Haram camps had been destroyed. The Nigerian Army as well as other security forces have continued to say the same over the past two years even though the reality of things points to a different story.

There has been an increase in child suicide bombings according to UNICEF. The data available shows 27 incidents in the first quarter of 2017 alone (compared to the 30 during the whole of 2016).

Two weeks ago, two soldiers died during a battle with Boko Haram troops at Miyanti-Banki junction in Borno and another at Kafin Hausa in Madagali Local Government Area of Adamawa. The Army claimed that it was an ambush that led to the neutralisation of 13 terrorists.

This morning, the deadly group struck again in the Muna area of Maiduguri, rousing oficials of the Borno State Emergency Management Agency. There haven’t been any updates from the Nigerian Army about the incident. What we have heard instead, is that activities of Nigerians on social media are now being monitored for hate speech, anti-government and anti-security information by the military.

According to the Director of Defence Information, Major-General John Enenche, this move to militarise the expression of free speech and thought in Nigeria’s 4th Republic (keep in mind the nation’s history with dictatorship) has become necessary  because social media is a challenge everywhere and in the light of troubling activities and misinformation capable of compromising the unity of Nigeria, monitoring of the second largest geolocated tweets (360 million as at 2015, according to Portland communications) in Africa – is a must!

Just yesterday, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar at a workshop expressed his own distaste for what he considers the use of social media by some elements to spread falsehood in addition to promoting hate speeches, violence, anarchy, and confusion in our society.” Nigeria’s military forces have apparently been thinking about this for a while.

It’s incredible to think that between the threat to Nigeria’s existence posed by Boko Haram and several other insurgents around the country, this is what’s taken the centre-stage in the operations of those who should be hard at work trying to keep us from becoming slaves in a utopian caliphate.

A 2015 tweet from Muhammadu Buhari before he became President is one we have had to have recourse to more than once this past week because we simply have no other way of coping with the foolishness at the top echelons of Nigeria’s leadership:

“We must ask ourselves these questions – how did we become like this? How did we get to this point? What kind of country have we become?”



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