NEW STRATEGIES AGAINST TERRORISM IN NIGERIA.
My condolences to victims of the recent terrorist bomb attacks at a motor park in Kano. God is not asleep.
I’m not one of those that sit back in my comfort zone and abuse the federal government for failing to tackle these insurgents. As a Nigerian, I prefer proffering solutions to whatever problems we are facing as a nation; where I have nothing to offer in terms of suggestions or solutions, I’d rather keep my criticisms to myself.
In a war situation, conflicting groups always ensure that their opponents do not get wind of their weaknesses or casualties. For those of us that follow western news media, during the peak of the American invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan; the United states in partnership with its media always ensured that they ‘down-played’ the casualty figures amongst American/allied soldiers. Thus, if the Taliban killed a hundred American marines at a given battle, the US and its ‘patriotic’ media partners will tell the world that only ten soldiers were killed. This strategy may seem tactless but the truth is that in a war scenario, you must never let your enemies see you bleed.
In Nigeria, we are already at war with politically sponsored Islamic terrorists that can no longer be controlled even by their initial sponsors. Boko Haram has now gone out of control and will kill anyone in its path. The JTF is not sleeping either, but they cannot win this war alone-only a united Nigeria can win this war on terror; unfortunately we are all guilty of somewhat helping terrorism thrive.
Whenever there’s a terrorist attack in Nigeria, Nigerians especially the media are quick to give such attacks a publicity of monumental proportions. Many media houses start engaging themselves in a battle of who publishes higher death figures. Newspaper A says death toll at 16, Newspaper B puts its own figures at 30, another Newspaper ‘vexes’ and puts the death toll at a 100. It doesn’t stop there, our online and print media houses go on a step further by ensuring they publish gory pictures of bloodied corpses, detached limbs, sympathizers wailing and what have you.
During the September 9/11 attacks, over 3,000 Americans were killed at one spot, yet the world did not see pictures containing mangled bodies of American citizens.
In Nigeria, as we go on elaborately showcasing the tragedy that has befallen us, the perpetrators sit back satisfied, contented and pleased that their motive has been attained. They have successfully spread terror and sorrow across the land, with the subtle help of the Nigerian media.
As a graduate of Political science, I do know for a fact that the battle against domestic terrorism is a long and difficult one, especially where the terrorists are faceless and operate from the shadows. The British with all her might could not curtail the IRA in its prime. The Americans still have not yet found a solution to her own home-grown suicidal terrorist that walk into public places and shoot innocent strangers before taking their own lives.
My proposal to the Nigerian government and people is, can we try a new strategy? Can the Nigerian government, in conjunction with all public and private media houses agree to give Boko Haram a full media blockade? Stop giving media prominence to any of Boko Haram’s successful attacks-downplay it to ridiculous lows.
We must stop assisting Boko Haram with spreading their message of fear and terror across the land. Even if they successfully bomb one million people at one spot (God forbid), let all media houses simply acknowledge that there was an attack***full stop***. This may sound very insensitive to victims of such attacks but we must understand that these terrorists love it when they see corpses or surviving victims mourning and wailing on national TV or on the pages of newspapers...and they’ll keep attacking.
A second leg to this strategy is to massively propagate and celebrate any successes recorded by the JTF no matter how insignificant.
Media blockade is an extremely powerful war strategy, especially where the enemy is an aggressive attention seeker.
Obviously, even if we carry out a media blockade on Boko Haram, the CNNs, BBCs and Aljazeeras will keep on with their lust for negative stories on Nigeria. But you know what? Once it becomes clear that Nigerians no longer give a hoot, dem sef go tire. Ask China.