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1 Aug 2018

Anti-terrorism group slams Ezekwesili, Yesufu over claim of secret burial of soldiers

The Coalition Against Terrorism and Extremism [CATE] has berated former Minister of Education, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili and her co-convener of BringBackOurGirls (BBOG), Aisha Yesufu for alleging that the Nigerian Military was involved in secret burials of casualties from the theatre of operations against Boko Haram terrorists in the northeast.

In a statement signed by its leaders, Oby Ezekwesili, Aisha Yesufu and Florence Ozor, BBOG had said it was reacting to photos of secret mass burial of some fallen soldiers days after the Nigerian military denied its soldiers were attacked.

Reacting to the group’s claim, CATE through its National Coordinator, Comrade Gabriel Onoja, said BBOG’s comment was driven by a desire to portray the Nigerian state as weak.

He said their action and outburst would rather give moral boost to terrorists.
Onoja, who addressed the press on Tuesday, called on the relevant authorities to take decisive action against the group, noting that the country’s security cannot continue to be at the mercy of the agents of wannabe occupation forces.

His statement reads in full.

You must have been following the unfortunate position being canvassed by the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) Group alleging that the Nigerian Military is involved in secret burials of casualties from the theatre of operations against Boko Haram terrorists in the northeast of Nigeria.

This position is infantile and can only be meant to benefit the terrorists and neither the Nigerian state nor the citizens that are being indirectly insulted by the BBOG manipulators.

Upon careful analyses, the statement by the trio of Oby Ezekwesili, Aisha Yesufu and Florence Ozor, for the group was a coherent part of a wider campaign of disinformation that is hinged on fake news and the manipulation of facts to attain a pre-determined objective. The statement was supposedly a reaction to photos of mass burial of some fallen soldiers in the aftermath of a reported Boko Haram attack on military facilities.

The photographs in question were ordinarily consistent with the casualty figures released by the military in the aftermath of the encounter with the terrorists. We, however, noted that some internet trolls in tandem with BBOG manipulated these images – playing with perspective and depth of field to create the impression that the entire Nigerian troops have been killed and are being secretly buried in the northeast.

BBOG has curiously capitalized on what should plunge right thinking people into a sbber mood to demand the unthinkable. The group is specifically asking to be given the casualty figures on the government side for the month of July. This request would have been considered bizarre and naïve had it come from illiterates or unenlightened section of the population, which makes it outrightly irresponsible coming from those who brand themselves as better than the rest of the country.

Assuming the other cheerleaders of the group were afflicted with crass ignorance, the expectations are that a person that has once served as a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria will be guided by common sense on the need to appropriately manage information, especially when national security is under consideration. We know people that crafted the most basic of information in complex double speak just so the populace will not understand what is being said and the same people are today asking for monthly status report.

We, however, know that the leadership of BBOG group is not as ignorant as they want the rest of us to believe. Their demand is driven by a desire to portray the Nigerian state as weak in continuation of their agenda that has consistently been about giving moral boost to terrorists. Proof of this can be found in the way they are quick to delve into subject matters that have no bearing with the stated objectives of the group.

In the entire mix of Boko Haram ambushes, surprise attacks and BBOG coming out to ask that the terrorists should be celebrated by escalating the casualty on the side of the military, the Coalition Against Terrorism (CATE) remains focused on how these impacts the safety and security of the communities at risk from an emboldened Boko Haram. We have always expressed concerns that anything that could negatively affect the morale of soldiers is a direct threat to the civilian population and is something that should not be allowed under any circumstances.

The evil agenda is being implemented as a blackmail of the Nigerian Army and the Federal Government. We are aware that such blackmail paid off in the past with guided flight tours for the leadership of BBOG. Perhaps it is time for another guided tour for Oby Ezekwesili, Aisha Yesufu and Florence Ozor. But we warn the Federal Government that blackmailers never give up. Another guided tour with all the goodies that go with it would only keep these professional extortionists quiet until such a time their foreign masters give them a new brief.

We, therefore, urge the Federal Government and the Nigerian Army to call the bluff of this dangerous group as the country’s security cannot continue to be at the mercy of the agents of wannabe be occupation forces. There are extant anti-terror laws that are applicable to terrorists’ supporters, which should be applied without fear.

We appeal to Nigerians to read between the lines and see beyond the tricks of BBOG. If the group has its way, it will compromise security on a scale that no Nigerian would again be safe anywhere. It is only under such conditions that members and leaders of this group thrive since they will be able to use it to exact more funding from their sponsors.

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