Feb. 22, 2014
by Peregrino Brimah
“Shekau was mortally wounded in the encounter—on 30 June, when soldiers raided a Boko Haram base at Sambisa Forest—and was sneaked into Amitchide – a border community in Cameroon for treatment… It is greatly believed that Shekau might have died between 25 July to 3 August 2013,” Col Musa said. [BBC, 19th August 2013]
October 1st last year, on the US Intelligence think-tank website, the Council of Foreign Relations (CFR), an expert on Nigeria, Jacob Zenn writing for former Ambassador John Campbell acknowledged imposter videos of Boko Haram leader Shekau. His words, “In the August video, the possible look-alike’s message was similar to Shekau’s, however, including threats to Obama, Hollande, and Netanyahu.”
On May 29th of 2013 Abubakar Shekau was said by France media, to have released a video in which he ‘supported the massacre at a Nigerian school.’ The said video was never released but a still image from the video, seen on the Yahoo hosted news link below was clearly a Photoshop fabrication, supporting evidence that imposter videos of Shekau were the new norm: http://uk.news.yahoo.com/boko-haram-leader-says-supports-nigeria-school-massacre-070152245.html#IE3oL5E
There have been no new videos of Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau that have been released through the usual channels to Nigeria’s media used prior to his stated death. All new purported videos have surprisingly come from a single source, France news, and have been released as 10 second clips, sometimes of old videos with superimposed vocals. One that was released in August, which was determined fake, had a rather chubby ‘Shekau’ quickly chew his stick as a sort of proof, after Nigeria’s security department had presented its conclusions that a prior release was fake because among other things, Shekau did not chew his stick. It was likewise just a ten second clip.
The most recent video said to have been released by the same foreign media this February 20th in which the cult leader was said to have threatened two Nigeria former president’s, Muhammadu Buhari and Ibrahim Babangida, the Shehu of Borno, Emir of Kano and Nigeria’s refineries came from the same single French media source and again, two days after, the purported video has again not been released to the public.
The Nigerian media has been rather unprofessional in relaying messages of alleged videos without first obtaining copies of the videos to confirm their authenticity. With the gullibility and eagerness of most Nigerian news websites to publish transmitted information, the actual videos if existent are usually never even released and mischievous misinformation that threatens the sovereignty and security of Nigeria are easily redistributed for whatever reasons.
Shekau loyalists may be at the head of transmitting these fake videos and Photoshop images to foreign media. Unfortunately we cannot rely on foreign media to work in the best interest of Nigeria, vetting and scrutinizing actual or purported videos. They too seek relevance and publicity hits. The duty to clear up the Nigerian media sphere is that of our indigenous media who need to take a minute longer to crosscheck reports before releasing these. Every error costs lives.
Boko Haram is a serious and real threat, however media must be careful not to fall into the hands of agents both local and foreign who may not have Nigeria’s best interest at heart. Essential to combating the threat of terrorism is not only economic and military approaches, but the media role in careful dissemination of factual information that does not further the cause of the terrorists.
It was noted that during the recent attacks on Bama and Izghe, several leading global media reported the attacks which claimed mostly Muslim lives, as an attack on a ‘Christian farming village that killed dozens of Christians.’ This dangerous misrepresentation of the facts of the attack, which were later corrected by accurate reports from the ground and state governor, constitute a threat to Nigeria and careless provocation toward ethnic tension. Dead victims are dead innocent victims, and killers are killers. Counting the dead by religious markers is not a matter of news for civilized humans and worse yet should not be misreported as occurred. Nigeria’s media must watch this, not to be used as tools.
As far as Nigeria is concerned, Abubakar Shekau is dead or indisposed. If he is still alive, we challenge him to produce a 10 minute, clear video in which he walks, gestures and talks, as he used to do prior to reports of his death earlier last year. Shekau should also release this video to multiple sources in its original form and not through a single foreign channel.
The Nigerian government must take the threat of Boko Haram terrorism seriously. In May of 2012, the Jonathan government promised to release the list of Boko Haram sponsors. This should be done immediately if the safety and security of Nigerian citizens and military men and women is a government priority. Nigeria’s public needs and demands regularly updated list of sponsors of terror and wanted terrorists. Usually the few suspect names ever known are those released by foreign intel. This is terribly wrong.
The nation’s security department under NSA Sambo Dasuki must also take it upon itself to fulfill its duties not just in pursuing terrorists and their sponsors, but in properly, promptly and adequately informing the general public on such matters of national security. The war against terror must be conducted with the people.
Nigeria’s army needs to receive proper funding and supervised, audited purchase of military equipment as it is now evident that the Nigerian army lacks sufficient equipment to execute its duty, safely and efficiently. The people are losing faith in the capacity of the government to protect life as was stated again by the Shehu of Bama. Hundreds of lives are being massacred, women raped and homes and businesses burned as Boko Haram terrorists ravage our border towns patiently in operations that last as long as 8 hours, like the recent one at Bama and Izghe.
It is also appealed that foreign governments who know many Boko Haram political and elite sponsors, take decisive action against them and their investments abroad, in the best interest of the Nigerian masses who are dangerously compromised by government inaction.